Cleaning Invisalign Aligners
Keeping your Invisalign trays clean is important – the clearer they are, the more discreet they will be, and any discolouration can make your teeth appear yellow. Plus, of course, keeping bacteria at bay ensures that your tooth enamel and gums stay healthy and your mouth stays fresh-smelling.
Even though you won’t wear your aligners for longer than two weeks before they are replaced, they can still get stained and damaged in that period unless you look after them carefully.
Why Is It Important To Maintain Care Of Aligners?
Knowing how to clean Invisalign properly and adding to the daily dental hygiene routine is essential for good oral health. Here’s why:
- Bad breath - Invisalign trays create a barrier that prevents saliva from naturally rinsing away food and bacteria from your teeth. Any food particle buildup will eventually result in bad breath, unless the trays are rinsed and cleaned regularly.
- Stains. Invisalign trays can become stained if they are not cleaned properly – which somewhat defeats the object of having a discreet teeth straightening system.
- Cavities. Wearing trays for long periods of time without cleaning them can trap plaque against the teeth. This can eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities.
- Gum irritation. Wearing dirty Invisalign aligners can irritate gum tissue and allow gingivitis or gum disease to take hold.
Invisalign Cleaning Tips
There are some basic dos and don’ts to make sure that your aligners remain sparkling clean and fresh.
- Floss and brush – when the aligners are in place, your saliva cannot naturally wash away food particles left after eating. So, brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day at a minimum will help to prevent bacteria and plaque buildup on your teeth.
- Do not eat with your aligners – food and drink can stain the aligners, as well as get stuck on the clear surfaces, so you need to remember to remove them before eating.
- Avoid drinking alcohol with Invisalign – the high sugar content in alcohol can cause teeth cavities – so make sure you remove your aligners before drinking alcohol and rinse your mouth / brush your teeth before replacing the trays. And of course, some alcohol – particularly red wine or cocktails – can easily stain your Invisalign aligners.
- Avoid using abrasive materials to clean your aligners – Invisalign trays can be damaged by abrasive cleaners, including some harder toothbrushes
- Avoid using mouthwash – many mouthwashes contain colouring that can stain your aligners, and harsh chemicals that can damage the surfaces.
How To Clean Your Invisalign Aligners?
The best protocol is to clean your aligners before bed and first thing in the morning. You should also rinse them every time you remove them during the day, to ensure that there are no food particles that have strayed from your teeth into the trays and to help keep bacteria from building up.
We suggest using this 4-step cleaning method for cleaning aligners correctly and regularly – noting there is a big difference between ‘rinsing’ and cleaning them.
1: Remove your aligner tray and clean it using a soft brushed toothbrush and a small amount of antibacterial soap.
2: Once a day, soak your aligners in a special cleaning solution: drop cleaning crystals in a cup of warm water and let them soak for 15 minutes. Our founder and award winning Invisalign dentist Ollie says, ‘Invisalign cleaning crystals can be quite expensive - I generally recommend Streradent, which is much cheaper to use.’
- Brush and floss your teeth carefully to ensure that there are not leftover food particles or plaque buildup lingering in your teeth.
4 Gently brush your aligners after soaking them, then put them back in your mouth.
What Stains Invisalign Aligners?
While most people remember to remove their aligners to eat, it’s quite common to forget if you’re drinking. Your aligners should be removed for drinking anything other than water – mainly because drinks are likely to stain them. The biggest offenders are:
- Alcohol – particularly red wine and cocktails
- Sugary drinks – most fizzy drinks and squash / cordials contain colourings that can stain your Invisalign trays
- Mouthwash – many mouthwashes contain colouring which stains the surface of the alignment trays
- Tea / coffee
How To Store Invisalign Aligners?
It’s amazingly common how many people lose or break their aligners because they’ve taken them out to eat or drink and either dropped them, folded them in a napkin, accidentally thrown them away or even trodden on them.
The best piece of advice is to take your storage container with you everywhere and remember to put the aligner in the case whenever you remove it. This protects it, makes it easier to remember to put it back in afterwards, and hopefully prompts you to give the aligner a rinse before you replace it in your mouth.
Award Winning Invisalign Dentist
You will be provided with a storage case to help protect your aligner. But the rest is up to you. Adding cleaning, rinsing and soaking of your aligner to your normal toothbrushing / flossing routine in the morning and at night is really important. You also have to remember to remove it before eating or drinking, rinse it every time you remove it, and pop it in the storage container when you’re not wearing it.
Follow these steps and avoid anything that might damage the trays such as mouthwash, abrasive brushes and denture cleaners – and you will maintain a great smile with a fresh breath while your teeth are being straightened.
Click here to find out more about Invisalign orthodontic treatments at Ollie and Darsh.