Clear aligners or clear braces are a popular method of aligning teeth. Rather than traditional metal braces, many patients opt for clear braces, which utilize interchangeable plastic trays. Clear braces are popular due to their minimal impact on personal aesthetics and convenience. You no longer have to worry about food stuck in your braces or pictures painted with the memory of metal brackets. With clear aligners, it is almost like you don’t even have braces.
However, it is vital to keep your aligners clean. The cleanliness of your aligners can impact your oral health. Therefore, you should know how to best care for your clear braces.
Clean Them Daily
Cleaning your aligners every day is essential for your oral health. A good rule of thumb is to clean your aligners when you brush your teeth. This way, you can be certain that your trays are clean. However, you can get by with cleaning them at least once a day.
When you brush your teeth, your goal is to remove as much plaque and remaining food particles as possible. This is because plaque will destroy your enamel, increasing your chances of developing tooth decay. Additionally, plaque will inflame your gums, causing irritation. This is the beginning stage of gum disease, which can significantly damage your oral health.
Because you wear your aligners for about 22 hours a day, plaque will constantly be on and near your teeth and gums. In fact, plaque can build up in your plastic aligners. Therefore, you must also clean your trays to protect your mouth.
Rinse Your Mouth After Eating
One way that you can keep your clear braces clean is to rinse your mouth after eating. While you eat, you break down your food into smaller pieces. This makes it easier to swallow and begin digestion. However, you can also leave behind tiny food particles. Unfortunately, leftover food particles will become a food source for the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. This can increase your chances of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Rinsing your mouth can remove the food source for bacteria, which means that fewer of them will multiply. As a result, you will have less plaque in your mouth after eating. In addition, this can help minimize bad breath or staining your clear aligners. If you have plaque buildup on your aligners, they can turn yellow, removing their invisible quality.
Avoid Abrasive Materials
When you clean your plastic trays, you should avoid any abrasive or harsh materials. If you use abrasive cleaners like some types of toothpaste, it can leave small scratches in the plastic. Not only does this affect the surface of your aligners, but it can also impact your oral health. When you scratch the aligners, they are less likely to be clear or invisible. Additionally, bacteria will grow in the tiny scratches, but it is more difficult to remove them.
In addition to abrasive materials, you should avoid using hot water to clean your plastic trays. Hot water can warp the thin plastic, rendering your trays ineffective or uncomfortable.