7 Ways to Whiten Your Teeth During Invisible Aligners Treatment
Updated: Sep 14, 2021
It’s natural for teeth to yellow slowly over time, especially as you approach your 30s. While factors like age and diet may contribute to the darkening process, the odds are higher for patients who wear invisible aligners. Acidic juices from meals help wear away your enamel and expose the dentin - which is darker - below. But when orthodontic appliances come into the picture, they may trap food and plaque that promote changes in your tooth color.
According to a survey from 2020, at least 37 million Americans are using tooth whitening methods to brighten their teeth. There are numerous new whitening products on the market today, but it’s always better to try more natural alternatives that may not be as harsh on your oral health.
Here are some natural techniques to help you preserve your teeth and make them a little whiter during your treatment. Though we don’t recommend whitening with traditional braces, it’s safe to try it out if you have invisible teeth aligners.
1- Sea Salt
Sea salt is an all-time favorite for dentists and nutritionists. It helps soothe sore gums and eliminate bacteria, adds iodine to your diet -- and whitens teeth! The grains of sea salt work as an abrasive that can wear away the discolored layers of your enamel.
Lemon juice has a pH of 2 (approximately), which makes it quite acidic. You could use either the lemon peel or its juice - diluted - to clear up stains and dark spots under your invisible aligners. We recommend doing this once per week to reduce the chances of enamel damage.
The same goes for other citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges. Be sure to add water to their sour concentrates if you decide to try them.
However, it’s bad practice to leave sugary juices from pineapples over your teeth. They may taste more pleasant, but the sugar promotes bacterial growth, plaque formation, and cavities.
3- Baking soda
In 2017, a review from the American Dental Association showed that people who used toothpaste containing baking soda had successfully eliminated stains and whitened their teeth. The magic is in its composition.
Baking soda has properties that neutralize acids, reduce plaque, and smooth tooth enamel. When coupled with hydrogen peroxide, it can also prevent or slow down cavity formation.
Using baking soda is one of the best whitening methods during invisible aligners treatment because it’s safe to practice every day. Most retail supermarkets sell toothpaste and oral hygiene products with baking soda included.
Otherwise, you can sprinkle some over the bristles of your toothbrush or use a homemade paste. In the case of the latter, you’ll want to leave the paste over your teeth for a couple of minutes so it can take effect.
Always do a rinse with water after applying baking soda to your enamel.
4- Oil Pulling
Unlike the majority of teeth whitening methods today, oil pulling doesn’t wear away your tooth enamel. Integrative specialists advise patients to swish oil in their mouth to remove bacteria that could create plaque buildup.
Besides its effects on teeth whitening, oil pulling is also a good idea to reduce gum inflammation. Some patients experience minor swelling after changing invisible aligners. Plus, most essential oils work well to treat and prevent bacterial infections.
Some of the most popular organic oils to use with invisible aligners include:
You can swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth daily for 15 minutes before spitting it out in the toilet. Some oils may solidify after use, especially in colder climates or during the winter. It’s best to avoid spitting into your faucet to prevent clogging.
5- Eating High-Water Foods
Have you ever eaten a cucumber and noticed your mouth filling with water? That’s because it contains 95% water content.
Fruits and vegetables like cucumber can help wash out plaque-forming bacteria in the mouth. What’s more, they stimulate saliva production, which neutralizes acids covering your teeth. Teeth aligner patients with acid reflux may be at higher risk of enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, and tooth decay as stomach acids settle around their molars. An organic, water-filled diet can help.
Consider adding more of these to your plate:
The constant chewing actions from eating cruciferous foods like cabbage and cauliflower also trigger high saliva production. It would be wise to include them in your diet as well.
6- Limiting Teas, Coffees, and Wine
Black teas, coffees, and wine contain tannins - organic compounds - which are notorious for discoloring teeth. While we recommend limiting your consumption of these products, we understand that it may be easier said than done. You may rely on the caffeine to pull an all-nighter or get you energized for a long workday.
In those cases, you can try drinking from a straw to keep the tannins away from your teeth. Or perhaps you’d prefer adding milk to your beverages to reduce their concentration.
7- Dental hygiene
The most proactive way to whiten your teeth is to maintain optimum oral health. Regular brushing and flossing after meals help eliminate bacteria and cleanse away harmful acids. You should brush your teeth 2 to 3 times a day, preferably with a soft or medium toothbrush. And you should always rinse off your aligners whenever you brush up.
These days, dental technology makes oral hygiene much more manageable. Electric toothbrushes are excellent for reducing stains and removing food in tight crevices. A Waterpick is a convenient alternative to thread flossing, especially with chronic inflammation or sensitive gums.
Ensure that you remove your invisible aligners before eating. Food particles get trapped under your appliance and become breeding grounds for Staphylococcus and other microbes. Moreover, curry and turmeric can settle over your teeth and stain both your teeth and your orthodontic aligner. You may notice they don’t look so transparent anymore.
Your dental hygienist also contributes to your oral health—ultrasonic scaling, cleaning, and polishing all assist in removing plaque and keeping your enamel healthy. Orthodontic patients should keep 6-month cleaning schedules because of their high risk of developing cavities.
In some cases, your hygienist may ask you to come more often to treat inflamed gums or excessive buildup. The more diligent you are with your brushing and flossing, the less likely you’ll have to attend frequent appointments.
Need help getting started?
We make it our job at Straight Teeth Invisible to get you the small of your dreams. Start with a free e-consultation with us if you’re ready to start your invisible aligners treatment plan. And keep checking our blog and website for more details on the process!