Proper dental hygiene is essential during orthodontic treatment, whether you are using traditional braces or Invisalign. If you want to end your treatment successfully and at the right time, you should maintain good dental hygiene at all times.
Oral hygiene is a fundamental pillar, and you can’t continue teeth straightening if your mouth is not healthy. When you have braces or aligners, it’s important to be diligent about brushing and flossing to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Braces and aligners can create tight spaces between teeth and make it harder to clean effectively, making it even more important to maintain good dental hygiene.
If you are paying and making an effort to comply with orthodontic treatment, following a good oral hygiene routine is like protecting your investment. This is a good way to look at it if you have a hard time sticking to the hygiene routine.
Orthodontic treatment can be a significant investment of time and money. Neglecting your oral hygiene can lead to problems like white spots, cavities, and gum disease, which can all impact (negatively) the outcome of your treatment.
By maintaining good dental hygiene during orthodontic treatment, you can also help to prevent problems that could potentially extend your treatment time. For example, if you develop tooth decay or gum disease, your orthodontist may need to pause your treatment until you can solve those issues.
After risking tooth loss avoiding bad breath may sound insignificant, but on a daily basis having fresh breath is key to your success. When you have orthodontic appliances, food particles can easily get in the brackets, wires, or aligners, leading to bad breath. By maintaining good dental hygiene, you can help to avoid this problem.
Braces vs. Clear Aligners: What Are the Main Differences?
Appearance is one of the most noticeable differences between braces and clear aligners. Braces consist of metal brackets and wires that are attached to the teeth, while clear aligners are virtually invisible.
Invisalign aligners can correct the smile in a very discreet way, which is convenient for many patients.
Another general differentiation is comfort. Clear aligners tend to be more comfortable than braces, as they do not involve any metal brackets or wires.
With braces, there are some foods that you should avoid, at least in certain presentations, as they can damage the brackets or wires.
With clear aligners, there are no found restrictions, as you can take them off during every meal. This is actually mandatory since you could damage the Invisalign trays and your teeth by leaving them on and chewing.
The only food restrictions you should follow with Invisalign are sugary foods and drinks and the reason is your dental health.
Dental Hygiene With Braces vs. Clear Aligners
Brushing and flossing both braces and clear aligners require diligent care in this department to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. However, with braces, it can be more challenging to clean effectively around the brackets and wires.
Though there are many tools that make it easy for braces patients, like floss threaders and interdental brushes, those cannot beat the possibility of removing your appliance and cleaning normally.
For Invisalign trays, it’s especially important to clean them regularly and disinfect them every night. With this, you prevent the buildup of bacteria and keep them looking their best.
- Rinse them with water: Rinse your aligners with water every time you remove them from your mouth. You can gently use your hands to shake off visible food debris and bacteria.
- Brush them gently: Brush your aligners softly with a baby-like toothbrush and mild soap to remove any buildup. Make sure the soap is antibacterial, but avoid toothpaste or products with fluoride.
- Soak them in a cleaning solution: Soak your aligners in a cleaning solution, such as a denture cleaner or Invisalign Cleaning Crystals, for a few minutes (around 15) each day to disinfect them.
- Always rinse off any cleaners: It does not matter if you use store products such as white vinegar to clean your Invisalign, or if you use brand products such as Invisalign Antibacterial Soap, you must always rinse off any rest of the cleaning products since those could hurt your mouth or stomach, or damage your aligners.
Though Invisalign clear aligners are acrylic, bad odors and bacteria can easily stick to them. Follow the tips above, and you get to keep your aligners looking and smelling fresh.
Cleaning is a must, but it’s not the only thing you can do to maintain your aligners fresh and transparent.
Apart from cleaning your aligners regularly, you should also rinse them several times a day. Cool or lukewarm water alone will help prevent plaque buildup and bad odors. This prevents stains as well.
Ultrasonic cleaners are not incompatible with clear aligners. These devices use high-frequency sound waves to remove dirt and bacteria from your aligners. This can be like an extra to your hygiene routine.
When washing your Invisalign trays avoid hot water since it can warp or damage them. It’s important to only use cool or lukewarm water when cleaning your aligners.
A great, though basic, trick is to keep aligners in a clean case. When you’re not wearing your aligners, make sure to store them in a clean case. This helps to prevent bacteria and germs from accumulating on your aligners.
Cleaning Invisalign With Baking Soda or Vinegar
Brand cleaners are not the only alternative to maintain your aligners sanitized; some store products are good options too. Maybe you heard about cleaning your Invisalign with baking soda and doubt whether it is a safe alternative or not.
Well, it’s safe and simple. Cleaning your Invisalign with vinegar is also a safe option. Only use white vinegar to prevent stains and make sure to soak for 20 minutes maximum.
Dr. Steve Cagliostro is a certified orthodontist and part of the expert team at Westwalk. He and Dr. Gary Romeo will be in charge of conducting and overseeing your orthodontic process.
Both adults and teenagers are welcome at Westwalk dental practice. Do not hesitate to make an appointment for a first consultation.