As the days gradually get shorter and the air outside becomes chillier, many of us prepare for the inevitable cold and flu season by stocking up on hand sanitizer, tissues, and vitamin C-rich items. For patients with Invisalign, though, this time of year presents a unique challenge. Removing your aligners creates more opportunities for harmful bacteria to attach to them and enter your mouth, increasing your risk of getting sick. While you can’t completely avoid all germs, there are some precautions you can take to minimize your risk of getting sick when wearing Invisalign in Astoria.
Wash Your Hands Often
It should go without saying that you should wash your hands before touching your trays. Otherwise, you could be giving germs easy access to your system through your mouth.
In some cases, it may not be easy or even possible to wash your hands before handling your aligners. Consider investing in an aligner removal tool, such as OrthoKey, as a hands-free way to take them out. You could also chew on Invisalign “chewies” to help seat them into place when it’s time to wear them again.
Decongestants work by drying out your nose, but it also affects your mouth by decreasing saliva production. This results in dry mouth, which increases your risk of cavities. Saliva cleanses your teeth of excess food particles and bacteria. Combat this by sipping plenty of water throughout the day.
Don’t Skip Brushing and Flossing
It can be tough to stick to an oral hygiene routine when you’re sick, but it’s still important. Neglecting to brush and floss could trap food debris between your aligners and your teeth, attracting harmful bacteria.
Keep the Bad Stuff Off of Your Teeth
Cough drops and cough syrup are often loaded with sugar to improve their taste. If you can, opt for sugar-free versions of these medications instead. If not, brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth with water afterward to prevent the sugar from accumulating on your teeth and causing cavities.
Clean Your Aligners Daily
You should be doing this even when it’s not cold and flu season in Astoria, but it’s especially important when you’re sick. Use a clear antibacterial hand soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush (a different one than the brush you use for your teeth) to scrub your trays at least once a day. You could also soak them in an Invisalign cleansing solution while you eat.
Follow these tips and you should be able to stay healthy while working your way toward a straight, beautiful smile!
About the Author
Dr. Eduart Shkurti practiced dentistry in Albania before immigrating to the U.S. and obtaining his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Southern California. He is qualified to perform virtually all aspects of dentistry, including Invisalign. To learn more about how to stay on track with your Invisalign treatment, contact ED Family Dental at 718-806-1662.