Investing in your smile is good for your oral health and your confidence, and clear aligners are a great option for many patients at Chester Family Dentistry. If you’ve taken the time and spent the money to straighten your teeth using clear aligners, you probably want to know how to care for them and keep them looking great!
Eating with clear aligners
Any time you eat or drink anything besides water, you should remove your aligners. The aligners can become stained, or food particles could get trapped between the aligners and your teeth, so it’s best to take them out.
Rinse upon removal
When you take your aligners out, rinse them to remove any saliva that may have accumulated. Saliva buildup can cause your aligners to smell bad, as well as allow bacteria to grow and put your teeth in danger. Use cool water to rinse them.
Brush and floss before putting your aligners back in
It may seem like a pain to brush and floss every time you eat, but it’s the best way to make sure no food particles are trapped between your teeth under the aligners or between the aligner and your teeth. When you’re not wearing aligners, your saliva rinses your teeth throughout the day so it’s not as critical to brush and floss after each meal.
One of the most important reasons to get clear aligners is to improve the health of your teeth. Straight teeth are easier to care for, and less prone to cavities. You should rigorously maintain the health of your teeth during the course of wearing your clear aligners.
Use a toothbrush and soap to clean your aligners
Toothpaste may have abrasive ingredients that could scratch up the surface of your aligners, so use a clear soap and a soft toothbrush to clean them. An antibacterial, soft soap is an excellent choice. A soft brush will help prevent scratches, but you should also be cautious about scrubbing too hard.
Hot temperatures can damage the material your aligners are made of, so:
- Don’t put your aligners in the dishwasher
- Don’t use hot water to clean them
- Don’t try to sterilize them in boiling or very hot water
You don’t want to soak your aligners in mouthwash overnight either, because mouthwash can stain your aligners. If you feel it’s necessary, you can soak them in retainer cleaner, or ask us for a recommendation for a specially-designed solution to soak them in.
Store your aligners properly
When you take them out, be sure you keep your aligners in the case designed for them. Not doing so could result in a stain or scratches, which will make them more noticeable when they’re in your mouth.
The specially-designed case protects your aligners, and also helps you keep track of them. You’ll be wearing your aligners for at least 20 hours per day, but taking them out while you eat or drink can make it easy to misplace them. If you form a habit of putting them in the case, you’ll be less likely to lose them.
If you have any other questions about caring for your aligners, just give us a call, and we’ll be happy to help.