Ladera Ranch, CA – Clear aligner therapy (CAT) is on the rise as an orthodontic treatment option. Patients love that it is a removable and a cosmetically pleasing option. However, it does come with a higher level of patient compliance in order to be effective. One important thing patients have to do is maintain proper care of their aligners. If you’ve chosen CAT and use something such as Spark or Invisalign, what is the best way to clean your aligners? Drs. Robert Gire and Reza Salmassian from Ladera Orthodontics offers the following tips:
- Brush and floss regularly. If your mouth is clean and free of bacteria, your aligners won’t be able to trap the bacteria against your teeth when they are placed in your mouth.
- Rinse your aligners every time you remove them from your mouth. Because your aligners should be taken out every time you eat or drink, you may find yourself removing them a few times a day. Rinse them under cool water to prevent dried saliva from building up, leaving bacteria behind on the aligners.
- Never use very hot water on your aligners. Extreme heat can damage your aligners possibly warping the plastic and altering the fit. Never run them under hot water for extended periods or run them through the dishwasher.
- Never use toothpaste to clean your aligners. It may be tempting to brush your aligners right along with your teeth. However, many toothpastes contain abrasives that can damage the plastic of the aligners. Additionally, toothpaste may leave a buildup that can make your aligners more noticeable than they might otherwise be.
- Clean your aligners with an antibacterial soap. This will help remove any bacteria that may have built up on the aligners while you were wearing them.
- When you clean your aligners, use a soft bristled toothbrush to gently brush them.
- Do not soak your aligner in colored mouthwash. You may think mouthwash will freshen it up but it can alter the color of your aligner.
- You can use denture cleaner or clear retainer cleaners to soak your aligners. White vinegar is also a good cleansing option to soak your aligners in. Invisalign also makes special cleansing granules that aligners can be soaked in. Dr. Gire always recommends using clear white vinegar as it’s the most cost effective soloution.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dry mouth. A dry mouth can increase the among of bacteria that can develop in your mouth, so drink plenty of water to flush away the bacteria.
Failing to clean and care for your aligners properly can cause issues that would otherwise be preventable. These include:
- Bad breath can occur if you don’t keep bacteria at bay and remove food particles.
- Buildup on your aligners can increase your risk of tooth decay along with making your aligners look dirty and appear more noticeable in your mouth.
- Your aligners can become discolored if not properly cleaned.
If you have questions about how to properly clean your aligners, be sure to ask us at your next appointment (Ladera Orthodontics: 949-272-8782).