As orthodontists in Tulsa and Claremore, we know everything there is to know about Invisalign, from the amazing benefits to the not-so-pretty parts of treatment. One of the main complaints patients have? dry mouth and bad breath from unclean aligners. While these are unfortunate side effects of Invisalign that some people may experience, there are ways to avoid dry mouth and bad breath with Invisalign. It starts, as all things oral health do, with good hygiene.
Suffering from Invisalign dry mouth or bad breath? The doctors at The Brace Place are here to help. Here, you’ll learn:
- What causes bad breath and dry mouth with Invisalign
- How to eliminate these issues
- How to properly care for your Invisalign aligners
What Causes Invisalign Dry Mouth?
When you started treatment with Invisalign, you probably expected all the amazing things the system has to offer: high-tech treatment, a discreet appliance and incredible results. You probably weren’t expecting to have negative symptoms like dry mouth from Invisalign. But as unpleasant as it may be, it’s a common side effect that many people experience.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs when you do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Many things can cause dry mouth — from stress and medications to certain foods and sleeping with your mouth open — and orthodontic appliances like Invisalign trays are just another contributing factor. Persistent dry mouth can cause difficulty with chewing, swallowing and speaking, and can even put you at higher risk for tooth decay or infection.
So why do Invisalign trays cause dry mouth? Basically your mouth is treating your aligners like a foreign object, which in turn causes swelling of the gums and irritation. Your body responds by producing less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.
Why Does Invisalign Cause Bad Breath?
Bad breath is another unwanted side effect that can sometimes come up during Invisalign treatment. Some people think bad breath from Invisalign is caused by the plastic aligners themselves or because you have to wear them for at least 20 hours a day, but those are just orthodontic myths.
In most cases, bad breath from Invisalign comes down to taking adequate care of your Invisalign aligners. If you’re Invisalign aligners smell bad, you probably need to step up your oral hygiene habits. When cared for properly, your Invisalign aligners should always be fresh and clean, keeping your teeth healthy and your breath fresh.
How to Avoid Invisalign Dry Mouth and Bad Breath
Now that you know what might be causing your bad breath or dry mouth with Invisalign, let’s look at how to prevent it. It all comes down to taking good care of your teeth, aligners and overall health.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
The best way to treat Invisalign dry mouth is water, water, water. Staying hydrated helps to maintain a steady saliva flow, so keep a bottle of water on hand at all times throughout treatment. Not only will drinking water help reduce dry mouth, but you’ll also be guaranteed to get your recommended 11-15 cups of water a day!
2. Keep Your Aligners Clean
If bad breath is your issue, the best advice we can give you is to keep your aligners clean. Never eat or drink anything but water when you have aligners in, and wash your aligners thoroughly after every meal with toothpaste and a toothbrush. Be sure to use lukewarm water since hot water can warp the plastic.
3. Floss and Brush Your Teeth (and Tongue!) After Every Meal
Food particles love to hide in the many little crevices in your mouth. If you pop your aligners back in without brushing and flossing first, you’re creating prime breeding grounds for plaque and bacteria. After every snack, meal or beverage that isn’t water, brush and floss your teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too, because that’s where bacteria especially like to multiply.
4. Avoid Tobacco and Caffeine
If Invisalign is causing dry mouth or bad breath, you’ll want to consider eliminating caffeine and tobacco. Tobacco, among many other negative effects, is also known to dry out your mouth. This goes for all forms of tobacco, including cigarettes, hookah, chewing tobacco and so on. Not a smoker? Caffeine could be contributing to your dry mouth or bad breath from Invisalign. Fortunately, decaffeinated coffee and tea doesn’t pose the same problem, or try energy-boosting foods like whole grains, nuts and bananas.
5. Use Mouthwash to Stay Extra Fresh
If you’re brushing and flossing after every meal, washing your aligners consistently and still suffering from bad breath with Invisalign, try using mouthwash to give your mouth an extra minty-fresh boost. There are even mouthwashes that are specifically formulated for dry mouth, so this could be a solution to all your Invisalign-related woes.If you’re following all of these tips and still experiencing Invisalign dry mouth or bad breath, there may be an underlying reason for your symptoms. When in doubt, contact your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist. We’re always here to help.