Invisalign and the Flu

I have the flu. I know I have to throw away my toothbrush. Do I also have to throw away my aligners? I would really hate to do that. They’re way pricier than my toothbrush. Is there a way to disinfect them? If I have to throw them away do I just go to the next set?


Dear Lucy,

Invisalign Aligner

I’m very sorry you have the flu. You probably feel miserable right now. At least I have some good news for you. You do NOT have to throw away your Invisalign aligners. Your body is already developing antibodies to the strain of the flu you’ve developed. Simply cleaning your aligners as you normally would is sufficient.

If you’re worried about it anyway and want to disinfect them or if you’ve been vomiting, then you can let them soak in vinegar for about ten minutes and then rinse them out thoroughly afterward. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant.

Hydration and Invisalign

It’s always important to stay hydrated. That becomes even more essential when you are sick. Often, when people have a virus they purchase electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade. It makes sense. You need to replenish those nutrients, especially if you’re vomiting.

A word of warning, though. These type of drinks often have sugar in them. You’ll need to immediately rinse out your aligners after drinking them. Otherwise, the drink will pool in your aligners and eat away at your tooth enamel. That will quickly lead to decay.

While it’s okay to drink Gatorade, make sure you are mostly drinking water while your aligners are in. This way you won’t have to worry about it getting in your aligner and causing damage.

When an Aligner Goes AWOL

You brought up a good question when you asked what aligner you’d go to if you had to get rid of one. Sometimes an aligner will get damaged or lost. Once a patient accidentally put hers in the dryer and it became completely warped.

If you lose an aligner, you can go ahead to the next pair. Just be certain you don’t do that too often. The reason for the two-week duration is to give the bone time to reform around the teeth roots in their new position. Without that, the teeth will eventually become loose. You want to straighten your teeth, not lose them.

This blog is brought to you by Newton Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.