Regular visits to your dentist and proper oral hygiene are key to a healthy, appealing smile, but you may still require orthodontic care to repair issues affecting your teeth or jaw alignment. Of course, many orthodontic treatments will repair these underlying dental issues, so finding one suited to your needs and budget is essential. Thankfully, the use of clear, removable orthodontic aligners is becoming a popular option due to their ease of use, appealing look, and effectiveness. Considering these aligners are a larger investment compared to traditional metal braces, proper cleaning and care is imperative. Using this guide on DIY cleaners, you can clean your orthodontic aligners in a natural, nontoxic manner.
Food will easily stick on and in between the metal wires and brackets of traditional braces, and it's difficult to brush and floss your teeth properly when wearing braces. Fortunately, this is not a problem with orthodontic aligners, since you are able to remove them before eating. This benefits your oral health, but it also helps keep the aligner trays clean and in good condition.
Make sure to wash and dry your hands using antibacterial soap before removing your aligners. Remove before eating meals and snacks to prevent the buildup of food or stains. Rinse your aligners under the sink faucet or use a bottle of distilled water to rinse away food particles and other residue. Then, place your aligners into a designated container to store while eating.
Your aligners may come with a special cleaning solution, but you can create one at home using a common household ingredient. After removing your aligners, add the following to a container with a lid:
- ½ cup of warm water
- ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide
Mix with a spoon before placing the aligners into the solution.
Although shocking to learn, 500 to 650 different species of bacteria may be found in the oral cavity. In many cases, this bacteria will build up on your aligners, increasing your risk of illness, cavities, and tooth decay. Fortunately, the hydrogen peroxide solution is an effective option for killing this harmful bacteria. In addition, the solution will remove food residue and discoloration.
Allow the aligners to soak in the solution while eating or brushing your teeth. Be sure to rinse aligners off with warm water before placing back into your mouth.
Baking Soda Soak
Even with regular cleaning, your plastic orthodontic aligners may begin to discolor, but you can remove this light staining using a similar technique to remove tooth stains. However, the use of toothpaste is not recommended, since the ingredients in the paste may be too harsh on the plastic material.
To remove light discoloration on the surface of your orthodontic aligners, consider a baking soda paste instead. You will need these ingredients:
- ½ cup of warm water
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
Mix the water and baking soda together. If the paste appears too thick, add a small amount of water. If it is too runny, add more baking soda.
Rinse your aligners under warm water before applying some of the paste using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Gently scrub the paste onto both sides of the aligners and allow it to rest for a few minutes before rinsing. Make sure all of the paste is rinsed away before placing back into your mouth.
The baking soda paste will dissolve away food particles and surface debris while absorbing stains from the aligner material.
Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist will improve your dental health, but orthodontic aligners may also be necessary to repair the look of your smile. Using this guide and the help of your orthodontist, your aligners will be effective and clean in a safe, nontoxic manner. To learn more about invisible aligners, speak with a professional from an office like the Stone & Johnson Dental Group.