A stunning smile is sure to turn heads, but not everyone wants or needs braces to straighten their teeth. That’s where Invisalign can help give your smile the transformation it deserves.

Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that help shift teeth into their optimal position. While they may be the preferred option over traditional braces, that doesn’t make them a hands-off approach to straightening teeth.

You need to take care of your aligners so that they can do their job properly and keep your mouth healthy. So when getting Invisalign for kids, here are nine tips to follow to look after the aligners.

1. Use Unscented, Clear Soap

Learning how to care for Invisalign aligners is one of the most important factors for kids to know. And knowing how to properly clean the aligners is key to maintaining their dental health while using Invisalign.

Your kids will want to use a clear, unscented soap to clean their aligners. Choose one with antibacterial properties to help keep bacterial growth at bay.

Never use mouthwash to clean the Invisalign aligners, as that can cause damage to the trays. There are Invisalign-specific products if you wish, but quality soap will also do the job.

2. When to Rinse

Next, you’ll want your kids to learn when to rinse their aligners. There are a few times throughout the day when the Invisalign aligners should be cleaned.

Firstly, they’ll want to rinse and clean the aligners when they first wake up to remove any plaque or bacterial build-up from the night. They’ll also want to rinse the aligners anytime they remove them before putting them back in.

Lastly, get your kids in the habit of giving their aligners a thorough brushing. Gently brush the inside and outside of the tray with a soft toothbrush to remove any plaque and bacteria build-up.

3. Don’t Leave Aligners Out

They will likely have to take your aligners out a few times a day to eat, drink, and clean your aligners. However, you don’t want to leave your aligners out of their case for long periods of time.

Be sure to store your aligner properly to lower the risk of damage or bacteria development. Leaving them out of the case also makes kids more likely to lose their aligners.

4. Brush After Eating

It’s no secret that brushing your teeth is a cornerstone of good dental hygiene. But when you have clear aligners, kids will have to brush their teeth more often—specifically, every time after eating.

Food stuck in your teeth can cause bacteria growth when the aligners are put back on. While it may seem like overkill, get your kids into the habit of a quick brush after eating and before putting the aligners back on.

5. Don’t Use Scalding Hot Water

When cleaning your aligners, it may be tempting to use very hot water to ensure that you’ve killed the bacteria. While that makes sense as we use hot water to clean most things, extremely hot water can damage aligners.

The aligners are durable, but they are made of plastic. Hot water can make the tray soft and malleable, threatening to change the shape of the aligners.

Don’t boil your aligners or use extremely hot water when cleaning. You should also be careful not to expose your tray to other forms of heat. Instead, use warm water when rinsing and cleaning your aligners.

6. Soak You Aligners

On top of daily rinsing, you’ll want to give your aligner a deep cleaning every once in a while. Every few days, you’ll want to give the aligners a good soak in lukewarm water for about fifteen minutes.

Use the Invisalign cleaning solution and submerge the aligners. After soaking them, give the aligners a quick brush and rinse. 

7. Avoid Certain Drinks

If you’re drinking water, you don’t have to remove your aligners. But for sugary and colored drinks, you don’t want to wear your aligners while drinking. So, before drinking, you will want to remove your aligners.

Drinking beverages other than water can cause your clear aligners to stain. You can also get bacteria build-up if you continuously drink colored and sugary drinks.

If you do accidentally have a drink like coffee, tea, or a dark or colored soda, try to rinse out your aligners as soon as possible.

8. Don’t Eat with Aligners

Similar to how braces have restrictions when eating, aligners do as well. Namely, you shouldn’t eat while wearing the aligners at all. Wearing aligners while eating can be uncomfortable and damaging.

The aligners may be strong, but their design does not account for the pressure of chewing or hard food.

If you do eat with aligners on, food particles can get inside. This can create bacterial growth and tooth decay. So, before eating, remove the trays and be sure to rinse your mouth before putting the aligners back in.

9. Remove Carefully

Whether you’re eating, drinking, or cleaning your aligners, you will likely have to remove your Invisalign aligners a few times a day. It’s important to do this carefully to avoid causing damage to your aligners, gums, or teeth.

This is especially true at the beginning of your treatment when getting used to the aligners and when your teeth are vulnerable.

Start at the back of the mouth, at the molars, and gently lift the aligners away from the teeth. Slowly, work your way toward your front teeth. Do not force the aligners off. If you’re having difficulties, talk to your orthodontist.

Keep Your Family Healthy with These Invisalign for Kids Tips

Your kids can have a radiant smile from a young age if they know how to take care of it. For many, braces are not the optimal choice, but straightening their teeth is still a must.

That’s where Invisalign for kids can step in. The clear aligners are a great way to help transform their smile without the look or pain of traditional braces. But aligners are a responsibility in their own right.

Looking for more orthodontist tips and tricks? Make an appointment with our experts to see your kid’s smile transformation today!