Are My Invisalign Aligners Making Me Sick?

woman with invisalign and a cold

I‘m 28 and just started Invisalign three weeks ago. All that’s been going good. I really haven’t had any pain or trouble adjusting, which is awesome. The problem is, my household seems to be passing around a nasty bug. It started more than a month ago when my youngest brought something home from preschool. Before I knew it, the other three kids had it and then my husband and I got it. I was diligent about throwing out our toothbrushes and everything, and even soaked my aligners in mouthwash trying to kill the bug. We all seemed to get better too. But, then I got sick again and one by one, everyone else did too. I’m worried that something remained on my aligners despite my attempts to create a germ-free environment. But, they’re not like my toothbrush that I can just throw away. Can I? What’s the protocol here? I want to get ahead of this thing before I wind up sick again.



Dear Kirsten,

Colds are funny and there’s so much information about how they work. Although it’s technically “possible” to catch the same cold twice, most people build up immunity to the strain they have, so no matter how many times they use the same germy toothbrush or wear rhinovirus encrusted aligners, they aren’t going to catch the same cold again. That’s most people, most of the time.

So, what gives? Chances are, your family caught two distinct bugs, one right after the other. One of the great “joys” of having kids during cold season or even being in an office setting for that matter. When you’re exposed to a lot of people, you’ll pick up bugs. There’s also some possibility you caught two cold bugs at once. Although that’s rare, it can happen too.

Tossing Toothbrushes and Invisalign Aligners is Overkill

Ture, if one family member is sick and the others aren’t, you want to keep their toothbrushes separate from everyone else’s to prevent the spread of germs, but there’s really no need to throw them out. If your family is in good general health, you’ll build up immunity to the bugs.

Don’t Use Mouthwash to Disinfect

Mouthwash can discolor your aligners, so it’s not the best bet. Instead, try using white vinegar. It’s acidic enough to kill bacteria. If you’re doing it on a regular basis, use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water and let them soak for 30 minutes. You can do the same with your toothbrushes and even with teeth whitening trays.

Be Mindful of How You’re Handling Your Aligners

One of the bigger risks is when you’re healthy and you’re handling your aligners before and after meals. Particularly if you’re taking care of sick family members, it’s easy to pick up the bugs on your hands and then transfer them to the aligners.

Skip the Aligners if Need Be

If you’re really worried about it or just feeling crummy, you can go without the aligners while you’re sick. However, it will impact your Invisalign treatment. In that case, start using them as soon as you can again and be sure to tell your dentist you’ve taken a break so he can adjust course.

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Steve Sirin, an Elgin Invisalign dentist.

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