Caring for your aligners means more than simply cleaning them even though it is crucial throughout your treatment. Failure in caring properly for your clear aligners might lead you to more problems and embarrassment as compared to having chosen braces as your orthodontic treatment. Some problems which may occur from lack of care in your aligners are, discoloration (stained), odor and health of teeth. We definitely want to avoid these problems and below are ways you can properly care for your aligners.
Rinse your aligners
Running your aligners under cold/room temperature water is the fastest way to cleanse them when you have nothing with you. Each time you remove your aligners, they should be rinsed to remove any plaque and saliva in order to prevent bacteria from building up on them.
Cleaning your aligners
If you rinse your aligners each time you remove them, good for you. We can take one step further in ensuring the aligners are in tip top condition and they remain clean. Below are ways you can clean your aligners thoroughly to keep them looking new:
- Brushing them gently with a soft bristled brush (not your personal toothbrush), you may choose to use a clear, liquid anti-bacterial soap but water would suffice. Do take note to be extra careful when using toothpaste as they may cause scratches or even discoloration
- Soak them in a denture cleaning product or baking soda water solution (1tbsp baking soda with 1 cup of water) for at least 5 to 10 mins a day. Rinse them thoroughly before putting them back on
If you can care for your aligners, you can also care for your own oral hygiene. Maintaining good oral hygiene is not only beneficial to your teeth and gum health, it is also beneficial in keeping your aligners clean. Try to brush and floss each time after you eat before putting your aligners back in. This would help to remove food particles that may have gotten stuck and if left between your teeth and the aligners, it would allow bacteria to eat away at your tooth enamel. It may also cause discoloration in your aligners.
Remove your aligners each time you consume any food or drinks except for Plain Water. Even then, do not drink hot water as the high temperatures may cause warping. Food and drinks can get stuck on the aligners or even between them and your teeth which may lead to future dental problems. Your aligners may also be stained and or damaged. Clear aligners are not made to support the pressure of biting down hard and chewing, doing so may cause it to crack.
As your aligners are being worn for 20-22 hours a day, there is a window of 2-4 hours where they are not in your mouth. Mainly it is when you are eating. Do keep your aligners in a designated container to prevent exposure to bacteria or other microorganisms. Remember to rinse them after removing and before wearing them back. This also helps you in accidentally misplacing them
If you are a smoker, ALWAYS REMOVE your aligners before doing so as the tar and smoke from smoking would stain your clear aligners. Also rinse your mouth before putting the aligners back in as residue from smoking may still linger on your teeth.
Do also take precautions when wearing and removing them. Removing them wrongly may cause a breakage of the aligners. Keep your aligners looking clean and new even if they are only to be worn for two weeks each in order to enjoy your new smile to the fullest.
Finished your treatment and ready to start using your retainers? Find out How to care for your retainers to understand more.