Your dentist will have given you specific instructions on how to look after your Invisalign retainers and your teeth while you're having treatment. While some of the stuff your dentist tells you is obviously important, you may be a bit blasé about some of their instructions.
For example, your dentist will have told you that it's important to clean your teeth after every meal while you're having your Invisalign treatment. If you brush your teeth morning and evening every day, then you may think that this is going a bit too far.
However, your dentist is telling you this for a reason. Why do you need to brush your teeth after every meal?
What You Eat Affects Your Retainers
One of the most common reasons that people like wearing Invisalign retainers is their subtlety. These braces are clear and relatively unnoticeable.
You do need to do some work to keep your retainers looking this way. If you take your retainers out when you have a meal, then you may be tempted to simply stick them back in when you're done. However, if you don't brush your teeth first, then the food you've eaten or the drinks you've drunk may have left particles or residue on your teeth. When you put your retainers back in, they'll soak up this stuff. If it is coloured, then your retainers will stain.
So, for example, if you've just eaten a curry, then your retainers may stain yellow, red or brown, depending the spices and sauce base of the food. You can't get these stains off, and they'll make your retainers stand out.
What's Left on Your Teeth Affects Your Teeth
As well as having a cosmetic downside, not brushing your teeth after a meal when you're wearing Invisalign retainers puts your teeth and gums at risk. Any food or residue left on your teeth gets trapped behind your retainers when you put them back in. Normally, your saliva would deal with these materials naturally. However, your retainers won't allow saliva to wash them away. They actually hold them against your teeth and gums.
For example, if you drink a sugary fizzy drink before you put your retainers back in, then they will hold any leftover liquid on your teeth. If it sits there for long enough, the sugars and acids in the drink could do some damage.
If you do run into problems keeping your Invisalign braces clean or are worried that something is wrong with your teeth, then talk to your dentist about dental services that could help.