Your guide on how to clean clear aligners like Invisalign
Your orthodontist has taken scans of your teeth and fitted the first in a series of custom clear aligners like Invisalign. In just a matter of months, you’ll be ready to flash that beautiful, straight smile at anyone and everyone. But, you’ll want to know how to clean your aligners properly.
The good news is this: it’s so easy you won’t even realise how quickly it becomes part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
Whether you decide to use a dedicated clear aligner cleaner or make use of any of the below home cleaning remedies, we’re sure you’ll be delighted at just how easy the entire process is.
Looking After Your Aligners
Good oral hygiene and proper maintenance are vital for keeping your aligners clean, free of odours, and as (nearly) invisible as they’re designed to be.
Even though you remove the aligners (or trays) to drink, eat, brush, and floss, if you don’t look after the aligners, they may discolour and encourage the buildup of bacteria in your mouth.
So, getting into the habit of keeping your trays clean will ensure they continue to look great and prevent any oral hygiene or odour issues.
How to Clean Aligners like Invisalign
With just a little daily TLC, your aligners can be kept as good as new. In fact, there are just 4 key steps to follow to look after your aligners.
Clean the Trays Twice Daily
You’re going to be wearing your aligners for 20 or more hours a day, so you’ll want to keep them squeaky clean. For sparkling, fresh aligners, you should get into the habit of cleaning them twice a day, at the same time as brushing your teeth. You can use a denture cleaner or a home solution and brush the aligners with a soft toothbrush. Remember to rinse them with lukewarm water before popping them back in your mouth.
It is best to give the aligners their own toothbrush. Toothpaste is not recommended for the aligners. Remnants of toothpaste may remain if you use your regular toothbrush on your aligner.
Take Out Aligners When Eating and Drinking
Aligners are changed every couple of weeks, so they don’t often have the chance to discolour. But, they may still stain, which is why you must take them out when eating and drinking. Remember to rinse your teeth before putting the aligners back in.
Keep the Aligners Safe and Clean
When you’re not wearing your aligners, keep them in their protective case. This is not only a habit of cleanliness, but you’ll know where they are when they’re not in your mouth. Remember the aligner case itself will need regular cleaning. It is best to get into the habit of washing it occasionally when washing your dishes in the sink.
Soak the Trays
To keep the aligners in tip-top condition, soak them in the aligner cleaner at least once a week. You’ll be able to find denture cleaning tablets in the toothbrush section of the supermarket. Please note – these products are marketed at dentures and retainers as well as aligners like Invisalign. The pack may say to leave the appliance soaking overnight. Please only leave your aligners soaking for around half an hour – as leaving it out too long could adversely effect your treatment. Also important is to avoid very warm or hot water, as this can misshapen your aligners and adversely affect the straightening of your teeth.
DIY Cleaning Solutions
There are several quick and easy solutions you can use at home to keep your aligners clean.
Gently brush the aligners with soap or in water with dish liquid soap to get rid of bacteria, and rinse well.
You can soak your trays in mouthwash, but take note that some mint varieties may leave a green tint on the trays. However, you can use whitening mouthwash to avoid this issue.
Mix up a solution of half warm water and half vinegar and allow your aligners to soak while you’re enjoying your meal. Brush and rinse them off and allow them to dry before popping them back in your mouth.
If you really just want to keep things quick and easy, stick a little toothpaste on your toothbrush and gently clean the aligners. This is just a quick fix when you’re pressed for time and shouldn’t be the main way to clean your aligners. Some kinds of toothpaste are abrasive and will dull the trays.
What NOT to Do
When it comes to how to clean aligners like Invisalign, there are a few things you should not do, like:
- Use coloured soaps which can result in different shades or hues to your trays.
- Drink or eat while wearing your aligners. Many drinks and foods can discolour and stain the trays, as well as possibly leave unpleasant odours.
- Leave the trays unprotected or exposed when they’re not in your mouth. Besides the risk of losing them, exposed trays are left open to bacteria and germs. Always rinse your trays before returning them to your mouth.
- Remember to avoid using heat to help with cleaning aligners. Heat can warp the trays.
What About Travelling with Your Trays?
What should you do about your cleaning routine when you travel with your aligners?
Simple: don’t change it, ever. If you can help it. There’s no need to change your cleaning routine at all. After all, you want to keep the trays in pristine condition and your oral health in tip-top form. But, what should you do if something happens to your aligners while you are away? What if one breaks, or you lose it?
Besides remembering to pack your choice of aligner cleaner, you should:
- Pack your previous trays along with your current set and the next set. If you lose your current set, just determine how long you’ve been wearing it to decide whether to go back to the previous or forward to the next set of trays. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep your past trays in clean, useable condition too.
- Carry your trays in your hand luggage if you’re going to be flying. Check-in baggage always risks getting lost or delayed.
- Never put your aligners inside a serviette, cup or glass. This is true at anytime – but especially important whilst travelling. Being nearly invisible, aligners can easily end up inside rubbish bins. The main places aligners like Invisalign tend to be lost is in aeroplanes, hotels and restaurants. Be very aware of where your aligner is at all times.
- Take an extra case with you so that you always have a spare.
- If you can, remember to brush your teeth and trays after a meal when you are travelling. At the very least, rinse your mouth and aligners before placing them back in your mouth.
Have a New Smile in Less than 12 Months
Statistics show that orthodontics is no longer just for kids, Aligners can be an excellent alternative to metal braces in terms of lifestyle and self-consciousness. They’re low maintenance and with the right methods and a solid routine, you won’t be left wondering how to clean your aligners.
* Terms and conditions for the free assessment: The appointment is intended to provide you with general information to help decide if aligners like Invisalign may be suitable for you. Includes clinical photos but not radiographs. No further free appointments booked if this one is missed.
Always read the label and follow the instructions for use.