Invisalign: The Truth About Staining Around Attachments

If you’re an Invisalign patient, you may have noticed that your teeth sometimes stain around the attachments. Staining is a common problem in orthodontic treatments, but there are ways to prevent this from happening. In this article, we will talk about the leading causes behind staining and offer guidance to avoid or minimize it from happening. We’ll also provide tips on what to do if your teeth do start to stain.

Top Invisalign Attachment Stain Causes

1. Consuming Dark Beverages

One of the leading causes of staining around Invisalign attachments is dark-colored beverages. Coffee, tea, and red wine can all cause staining. If you’re a patient who enjoys these drinks, beware and try to minimize your consumption! But we understand that it can definitely be tough to give them up.

Colored molecules from the darker beverages can penetrate the Invisalign attachments and cause the attachments to stain – similar to how they can also penetrate and stain your enamel. If you absolutely can’t give up your coffee or tea, we recommend drinking them with a straw. This will limit the contact that the drinks have with your teeth. We also recommend rinsing your mouth out with water immediately afterward to wash away these molecules from the surface of your teeth.

2. Smoking

Smoking is another major cause of staining around Invisalign attachments. This is because the nicotine and tar in the cigarettes can cause some serious staining. If you’re a smoker, we recommend discontinuing smoking for the duration of your Invisalign treatment. Not only will it help your teeth, but it will also have a positive impact on your overall health.

3. Poor Oral Hygiene

If you don’t brush and floss regularly, you’re more likely to experience staining around Invisalign attachments. This is because plaque and bacteria can build up on the teeth and around the attachments, leading to staining. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. You should also consider using an antibacterial mouthwash.

4. Certain Mouthwashes Can Cause Aligner Staining

Mouthwash can be a great tool for preventing staining. However, certain mouthwashes – such as those with chlorhexidine – can actually cause staining. We recommend you look for a mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide, which will help to remove stains and keep your teeth looking their best. Antibacterial mouthwashes are often best as they will also help to keep plaque and bacteria at bay. It has been observed that blue mouthwashes may cause staining to Invisalign attachments.

5. Consuming Acidic Food & Drink

Acidic beverages and foods can also lead to staining around Invisalign attachments. This is because acidity weakens the enamel on your teeth. This process of acid weakening enamel is called enamel decalcification. Decalcified enamel is much more porous making it significantly more susceptible to staining than normal enamel. Citrus fruits, soda, and energy drinks are all examples of acidic consumables that you should avoid. If you do consume them, be sure to rinse your mouth out with water immediately afterward. Like dark beverages, acidic food and drink can penetrate the Invisalign attachments and your teeth, causing staining.

6. Eating Sticky & Sugary Foods

When it comes to stained teeth, the list of culprits is lengthy: coffee, tea, red wine, soy sauce, and the like. But there’s one type of food that’s often overlooked when it comes to teeth staining: sticky and sugary foods. These sticky substances can get turned into acid by bacteria in your mouth and cause enamel decalcification of teeth which makes them more porous and prone to staining by other colored agents. And while Invisalign attachments are designed to be discreet, they can also act as a magnet for staining agents. So, if you’re wearing Invisalign and you want to avoid stained teeth, it’s best to steer clear of sticky and sugary foods and use proper care to keep aligners and attachments clean and clear.

The Solutions to Aligner Staining

Prevention is always the best solution when it comes to staining. However, if your teeth do start to stain, there are some techniques to get rid of the discoloration!

1. Remove Invisalign Aligners When Consuming Something Other Than Water

It’s critical to always remove your Invisalign aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water. This will help to prevent staining, decalcification, and cavities. And this goes for food as well. If you’re going to be eating, always take out your Invisalign aligners beforehand.

2. Brush & Floss Immediately After Eating or Drinking

Anytime you are consuming dark or acidic beverages that could stain your attachments and/or teeth, it’s strongly advised to brush and floss immediately after eating or drinking. This will help to remove any residue that could cause staining. Otherwise, you run the risk of staining your teeth and the attachments themselves (no one wants that). Of course, sometimes it’s impossible to brush your teeth right after eating or drinking. In those cases, just rinse your mouth out with water and then brush properly as soon as you get a chance.

3. Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is a great option for getting rid of mild staining. There are many different brands on the market, so take some time to find one that works well for you. Be sure to follow the directions on the packaging. Some brands have stronger chemicals that can actually cause some sensitivity if used to often, so if ever in any doubt – please ask your orthodontist for their recommendation.

4. Whitening Strips

If whitening toothpaste doesn’t do the trick, you can try whitening strips. These are available over the counter and are relatively affordable. Again, be sure to follow the directions on the packaging. Like whitening toothpaste, don’t use them more than directed as this can result in significant sensitivity and/or potential damage to your teeth.

5. Professional Cleaning, Polishing & Teeth Whitening Products

If you really want to get rid of those stubborn stains, you may have to visit your dentist to do a professional cleaning and/or polishing of your teeth. This will resurface your Invisalign attachments and get rid of the superficial stained surface. You may also want to consider professional teeth whitening to keep your teeth and the attachments looking clean and fresh. This option is more expensive than at-home treatments, but it’s worth it if the appearance of staining around the Invisalign attachments bothers you too much. Keep in mind that if the root cause is due to diet or inadequate oral hygiene, the staining is probably going to return unless you make some changes to your diet and your oral health regimen which can also help with plaque build-up and surface staining.

Final Thoughts

Staining around Invisalign attachments is a common problem in orthodontics, but it’s well within a patient’s hands to prevent and/or minimize it. By following the tips above and in our previous post about techniques to successfully wear your Invisalign aligners, you can keep your teeth looking their best and maintain that beautiful smile. And if you do experience staining, try out some of the solutions discussed in this article. Do you have any other tips for preventing or getting rid of staining around Invisalign attachments? Feel free to let us know!