4 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Invisalign Retainer

Invisalign is an excellent alternative to traditional metal braces, particularly for adults. The clear retainers won't alter your appearance during treatment, and they're easy to remove for eating and cleaning, reducing the risk of ending up with cavities or white spots that can form under braces if you don't clean properly around them.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

The most important thing you can do to keep your aligners looking great and working properly doesn't actually have anything to do with the retainers themselves. Keeping your mouth and teeth clean keeps your Invisalign trays clean, too, and prevents bacteria, food particles and plaque from getting trapped against your teeth when you're wearing the aligners. Remove your retainers before eating or drinking, and brush your teeth before reinserting your trays. Floss between each tooth at least twice a day—it's even better if you floss after every time you eat and brush.

Stay Away From Stain-Causing Foods

One of the biggest draws of Invisalign for many patients is that the trays are clear, allowing your natural smile to shine through while you're straightening your teeth. Foods and drinks that can stain your teeth can also stain your aligners, so it's especially important to remove Invisalign before eating or drinking and to brush your teeth thoroughly before reinserting your trays to prevent stains. Some common stain-causing foods and beverages include berries, tea, sugary candies, baked goods, citrus fruits, soy sauce, coffee, tea, and soft drinks.

Don't Use Toothpaste or Harsh Cleaners

Invisalign trays won't hold up to harsh cleaners or toothpastes that contain whitening ingredients or baking soda. Rinse your trays with water before each time you put them back in your mouth. Brush your aligners with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day. It's best to invest in the manufacturer's Invisalign cleaning kit, which removes bacteria with a cleaning solution that's safe for the trays.

Store Your Retainer Safely

It's important to wear Invisalign for 20 to 22 hours every day to get the most out of your orthodontic treatment. But you'll need to remove them when you eat or drink and when you brush your teeth. Don't lay your retainers on a table or counter, even if it's just for a few minutes. Leaving your trays exposed allows them to come into contact with all kinds of bacteria and germs—definitely stuff you don't want in your mouth when you put them back in. Use a retainer case every time you remove them, and clean your case at least once a day. In a pinch, you can place your aligners in a clean glass of water if you don't have a proper case handy.

Make an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist if you're experiencing any issues with Invisalign, particularly if you're experiencing any pain or uncomfortable pressure while wearing your aligners.