At the Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we use Invisalign® as an effective way to straighten your teeth without people noticing it.
During cold and flu season, many people are concerned about limiting their exposure to germs.
Below is an inquiry from a patient of another dental practice about practicing good oral hygiene with Invisalign.
I started wearing Invisalign in November and things are going well. So far most people can’t tell I’m wearing the aligners. However, almost everyone around me is getting a virus or the flu, and now I’m concerned. Do I need to throw away my Invisalign aligners when I get sick? I know I’m supposed to do that with my toothbrush, but the aligners are expensive, and it seems like such a waste. Do I go to the dentist to get new aligners, or do I move to the next set or wear the old set again?
Actually, toothbrush companies have promoted the common myth that you need to throw away your toothbrush after being sick. When you get a cold or the flu, you’re getting a specific strain of it. Your body develops antibodies to that strain to fight it off. After you’ve had a particular virus or strain of flu, you are generally immune to catching it again.
It is possible to get sick with a different strain of flu right away, but viruses are unlikely to recur. In other words, you don’t need to throw away your toothbrush or your Invisalign aligners. In rare cases, some of the germs from the virus might remain on the aligners for a day or two. So it is possible to share the germs through kissing or sharing food with someone else, but there are no studies to show how often that occurs.
Keeping Invisalign Clean While You’re Sick
Below are three tips for keeping Invisalign aligners clean while you’re sick.
- Clean the aligners daily.
- A specialty cleaner or a soft toothbrush with baking soda can deodorize them, which is especially helpful if you’re struggling with a stomach virus.
- Your Invisalign won’t need any special care to prevent you from being contaminated with the same virus again.
There is one word of caution with illness. Staying hydrated is imperative. Although people commonly turn to electrolyte drinks, like Gatorade, or other sweet drinks, it’s not good to sip them throughout the day. It’s like bathing your teeth in sugar all day. When you’re wearing Invisalign, the sugar can become trapped between the aligners and your teeth, creating an acidic environment that promotes bacteria and tooth decay.
Stay hydrated with water as much as possible. If you crave a sugary drink and decide to drink it anyway, drink it all at once, rinse your mouth with water, brush your teeth, and rinse the aligners. This will help control bacteria and tooth decay that result from having sugar and acid on your teeth for an extended period.
Interested in Invisalign?
If you’re looking for a way to have your teeth aligned without people noticing it, Invisalign might be the right option for you. It has other advantages over traditional braces:
- Increased comfort
- More precise alignment of your teeth
- Easier to maintain good oral hygiene because they are removable
- Fewer check-up appointments