There are many benefits to choosing Invisalign® clear aligners over metal braces for teeth straightening, including the ease of cleaning and routine maintenance. While clear aligners are considered more aesthetically pleasing than traditional braces, failing to take proper care of the trays can lead to discoloration or a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Fortunately, cleaning the trays is simple. Consider the different approaches to keeping braces or aligner trays clean to find which option is more convenient.
Keeping braces clean
Traditional metal braces are mounted to the surface of the teeth, with the braces themselves forming a barrier over the teeth. It is possible to remove plaque and food particles, but many patients find it difficult to navigate the wires and brackets with a standard toothbrush. Routine cleaning must accommodate the braces, with the first change being a new toothbrush. An electric toothbrush, a spindle brush, or one designed for use with braces can do a better job of cleaning between individual teeth as well as between the teeth and metal components.
Avoid certain foods and drinks
Because of the cracks and crevices created by braces, many foods and drinks should be avoided. Not only can hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky foods cause damage to the braces, but particles from such foods can get caught in the cracks and stuck to the wires. Brushing the exterior of the teeth can remove some of these particles from the surface of the teeth around the brackets, but it is difficult to get fully in between the brackets and underneath the wires.
Keep flossing and rinsing
Flossing the teeth while wearing braces requires specific techniques or tools. Carefully thread the floss around the wire or use a water flosser to clean out particles and plaque from around the teeth and in the gaps of the braces. Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash cleanses the brackets and mouth of bacteria and germ buildup.
Keeping Invisalign® clear trays clean
Clear aligner trays are easy to maintain, as they can be removed from the mouth for brushing and rinsing. It is important to clean the trays each morning and evening to remove bacteria buildup. It is also recommended that the trays be cleaned or rinsed prior to putting them back in the mouth after being taken out for mealtimes. Never eat while the trays are in place.
To preserve the sanitation and clear coloring of the trays, soak them in an aligner cleaner at least once a day. Use a soft toothbrush to gently remove plaque or food. A harsh-bristled toothbrush can scratch the trays, and using toothpaste or soap that is colored or scented can cause discoloration. Avoid consuming beverages other than water while wearing the aligners to prevent staining from colored liquids. When not wearing them, store the aligners in a protective container.
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