You should be flossing anyway, but find out why it's crucial during Invisalign treatment.
Oral hygiene is key to a healthy mouth. Without regular brushing and flossing, you can face a variety of problems, such as gum disease or a case of chronic bad breath. But tragically enough, the American Dental Association showed that only 50.5 percent of Americans floss every day—like they should—and less than 20 percent don’t even floss at all.
Daily flossing is important to keep these conditions at bay any time, but especially so during Invisalign treatment. When you cover your teeth with Invisalign trays for 22 hours each day, you’re creating a prime environment for bacteria to accumulate on your teeth, worsening your risk of the problems previously mentioned. You should be flossing anyways, but here are some extra things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of opting out during Invisalign treatment:
- It’s riskier to skip during Invisalign Treatment
- Flossing is more than just removing food
- It’s not inconvenient
- There are plenty of products for on the go flossing
While it’s nobody’s favorite thing, flossing is key to a healthy mouth regardless of previous or current orthodontic treatment. But if you are going through Invisalign treatment, try to floss after every meal, or at least once a day. Read on to find out why.
It’s always important to be flossing, but if you skip regularly during treatment, you’re putting your teeth at risk.
Risks of Skipping flossing during Invisalign Treatment
Certain people are more predisposed to dental complications than others, depending on the individual enamel strength. Saliva pH and tooth alignment—yes, the way your teeth are shaped—can make you more susceptible to gum disease. If you’re using Invisalign, there’s a good chance it’s because you are unhappy with your current teeth alignment. Dr. David Pechersky, an Orthodontist, highlights the importance of flossing when your teeth are more crooked, as opposed to straight teeth, which have more of a self-cleansing mechanism:
“Overlapping teeth contact each other from their edge all the way down to the gums, preventing the bristles of the toothbrush from going through.”
Pechersky points out that flossing is the least expensive and most efficient way to clean teeth that overlap, so get flossing!
Here’s something else to think about. When you finish eating and put your aligner back on, who knows the next time when you will take it out again. If food does get lodged in your teeth after a meal, those particles get to sit in a moist, bacteria-inducing environment because your teeth are covered by the trays. Then that bacteria is trapped for who knows how long—and that’s about as bad for your teeth as it sounds. It’s also a key contributor to Invisalign bad breath.
So try to floss after every meal to prevent this from happening during your Invisalign treatment.
Flossing is essential to removing plaque from your teeth, which constantly accumulates from the food we eat. If not cleaned, plaque can lead to gum inflammation or disease.
More than Just Removing Food
When you think of a string of floss, there’s a good chance you think of its powers of food removal. While this is true, there are many other reasons to floss that benefit your oral health. If you’re not flossing, you put your mouth at risk for certain diseases and conditions. And as previously mentioned, these risks increase during Invisalign.
In addition to reaching the spots your toothbrush can’t reach, there are other things to keep in mind when debating the importance of flossing.
Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria, sugars, and stuff from everything else we eat that forms on the teeth. If plaque is not removed by flossing and brushing, it can harden into tartar and cause tooth decay.
Plaque is constantly building in the mouth. As this plaque accumulates, the bacteria in it will damage your teeth by wearing away at the enamel. The bacteria produces harmful acids in your mouth, and they travel to the teeth roots under the gums and damage the bone supporting your teeth. In addition to regular flossing and brushing, here are some things you can do to help prevent plaque buildup:
- Lower your sugar consumption, especially from starchy and sticky snacks
- Visit your dentist regularly for a cleaning
As scary as that plaque buildup sounds, trapping it on your teeth with Invisalign sounds even worse. It’s important to floss to help with plaque buildup anyways, but it’s especially important when that plaque would otherwise be trapped in the bacteria-inducing environment between your teeth and your aligner.
According to the American Dental Association, more than 500 bacterial species can be found in plaque. While not all of those are bad bacteria, there are plenty that can contribute to gum disease by accumulating near the teeth and gum line.
Gingivitis (gum inflammation) is the first step to periodontitis (gum disease). Dr. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology—a group of more than 8,000 gum-disease-fighting doctors—said “gum disease is typically caused when prolonged exposure to bacteria in dental plaque causes an inflammatory reaction. Flossing is an effective and useful way to remove the plaque, especially between the teeth or under the gum line—places where a toothbrush cannot reach.”
While symptoms of gingivitis are mild, you can always be on the lookout for red, swollen gums that easily bleed. In addition to poor oral hygiene, there are other circumstances that can put you at greater risk for gum inflammation:
- Smoking and substance abuse
- Certain medications
If you find yourself in any of those categories while using Invisalign, it’s especially important to floss during treatment.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, or periodontitis. Fortunately, gingivitis can be reversed with efficient oral care. But if left untreated, plaque will spread and accumulate below the gum line causing a more severe form of gum disease.
Flossing with Invisalign is much easier than flossing with traditional metal braces, so there’s less of a reason to skip.
Flossing Doesn’t Have to Be Inconvenient
It can be much more difficult to floss with traditional metal braces. There’s a certain way you have to go over and under the metal wire, and it can definitely keep you at the bathroom mirror for a longer time than you anticipated.
But with Invisalign, you can’t use flossing difficulties as an excuse. All that’s required of you to floss with Invisalign is just to take the trays out. With this added element of convenience during Invisalign as opposed to traditional orthodontic treatment, there’s no reason to skip flossing. Try to floss at and brush after every meal before putting your aligner back on if possible.
Keep your Movemints handy for mobile oral hygiene, in addition to products like Knotty Floss, OrthoKey, and Brushee.
Products for Oral Hygiene On the Go
Movemints are perfect for maintaining oral hygiene while out and about. Not only do they seat your trays, but they freshen your breath, help fight dry mouth, and last long. They are sugar free and sweetened with Xylitol for your enjoyment in addition to enhancing your Invisalign treatment.
Someone else seemed to think as highly of Movemints—those in charge of compiling the 2019 Grammy Gift Bag! When putting together the $30,000 gift bag for the celebs, the organizers threw in another great product for oral hygiene on the go: Knotty Floss.
Knotty Floss is an excellent addition to your oral hygiene arsenal that’s easy to use and environmentally friendly. Try their Knotty Picks to throw in your to-go bag, next to your Movemints. These floss picks are made of cornstarch instead of plastic, and ingredients like bamboo and grapefruit seed extract help freshen breath, whiten teeth, and prevent that dreaded gum disease.
Pair Movemints and Knotty Floss along with an OrthoKey, an aligner removal assistant tool. Keep your hands out of your mouth by taking out your aligner with OrthoKey.
Check out another great mobile oral hygiene product too, Brushee. It’s a small toothbrush infused with toothpaste and a floss pick on the opposite end for efficient oral hygiene while you are out and about.
Try all of these products to help your oral health during Invisalign treatment. Knotty Floss and Brushee are especially helpful for flossing after meals when you’re away from the bathroom sink at home, and Movemints and OrthoKey are great for making the Invisalign process more efficient.
Keep up with flossing during Invisalign treatment to end up with a beautiful smile.
Ultimately, it’s important to be flossing anyways, but it’s crucial during Invisalign treatment. Your teeth are already subject to bacteria and aligner trays only give it a better environment to grow in your mouth, contributing to dental disease and bad breath. Be sure to visit your dentist/orthodontist in appropriate intervals as well for cleanings and additional upkeep.
Why do you think it’s important to floss during Invisalign treatment? Let us know in the comments!