Feeling excited and motivated at the beginning of a project and slowly watching that enthusiasm dwindle away is one of those personality quirks that many people seem to share. For example, the exercise routine you feel gung-ho about on Monday morning might seem like a troublesome chore by Friday. In a similar manner, many Invisalign patients start their treatment eagerly following their dentist’s about eating, drinking, and caring for their teeth and aligners, but begin to stray from those good habits as treatment wears on. Unfortunately, not taking proper care of your smile during Invisalign can have a serious negative impact on the health of your teeth.
The Double-Edged Sword of Invisalign
As anyone who has ever worn metal braces can confirm, brushing and flossing around brackets and wires is a huge hassle. One of the best advantages of the Invisalign system is the ability to remove the aligners to brush and floss normally. However, if you don’t take the time to follow your dentist’s advice, you could be leaving your teeth at a higher risk of decay.
Here’s what happens: Invisalign aligners fit snugly to your teeth and if you don’t brush and floss after meals and snacks or, even worse, if you sip on sugary drinks throughout the day, particles of sugar will become trapped in the aligners and against the surface of your teeth. This creates optimal conditions for oral bacteria to breed, create plaque, and accelerate the process of enamel demineralization and decay.
Maintain Healthier Teeth During Your Treatment
Anecdotal evidence shows that Invisalign wearers who don’t take proper care of their teeth end up developing gingivitis (a form of gum disease), demineralized enamel, stained teeth, and cavities during the course of their treatment. However, Invisalign is designed to make at-home oral hygiene easier, not unnecessary. You can ensure that your teeth remain bright and healthy throughout your treatment by following these Invisalign best practices:
- Before you put your aligner tray back on after eating a meal or snack, floss and brush your teeth . . . every single time, even at the office or at school.
- Between meals, do not sip any beverages other than water. Sugary drinks will increase the chance of tooth decay while darkly colored drinks, like coffee, will increase the risk of enamel stains.