The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Invisalign Aligners

You’ve gotten your Invisalign clear aligners and are happy to finally get started on the road to a super smile! The aligners are comfortable and many people can’t tell you are getting your teeth straightened. So far, so good!

To get the highest effectiveness out of your orthodontic treatment, you need to know how to clean Invisalign aligners and care for them every day. This article will outline how to accomplish that as well as the things not to do.

Invisalign Facts 101

Metal braces have been the most common type of braces for hundreds of years. Then, in the mid-1990s, a student at Stanford University was undergoing orthodontic treatment and came up with the design of removable aligners. He realized that it was a great idea to use a series of these aligners that fit snugly over the teeth to straighten them. They are virtually invisible plastic trays custom-made for each patient and move the teeth gently and progressively according to your treatment plan. 

Orthodontists weren’t sold on the idea at first but then started seeing the positive results of these invisible aligners. By 2001, thousands of orthodontists in North America had been trained in the official Invisalign training and Invisalign is now one of the most popular orthodontic methods ever developed. The world of braces has never been the same!

The Invisalign aligners are effective at correcting several orthodontic problems, like bite issues and misaligned teeth. In the course of these corrections, there are other benefits, too, including:

  • An improvement in oral health and overall tooth function.
  • The ability to enjoy your meals unrestricted since the aligners can be removed.
  • More comfortable orthodontic treatment.

All of these characteristics and benefits support the popularity of clear aligners. Now let’s discuss properly cleaning your Invisalign aligners and how to keep them clean as long as you need them.

Tips For Cleaning Aligners

It’s important to care for your clear aligners if you want them to last the expected life span. If you neglect this, they can discolor and leave plaque on your teeth. In that case, your breath may be bad and your overall dental health will be affected. All of this can affect the aligners’ aesthetic appeal, which defeats the purpose of choosing them over metal braces.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to taking care of Invisalign aligners:

Do’s:

  1. Use only a soft (or super soft) bristle toothbrush to clean your aligners.
  2. Clean your aligners twice a day, every morning and evening. Since you wear your aligners while you sleep, bacteria have time to build up on the trays. It’s important to clean the bacteria away at least twice a day. Of course, you need to brush and floss your teeth, too, twice a day while your aligners are being cleaned.
  1. In addition to this twice-a-day cleaning, rinse the aligners whenever you take them out to eat. This will also keep bacteria and plaque to a minimum and will remove saliva, too. 
  2. Soak your aligners once a day for about 15-20 minutes. You can do this when you remove them either in the morning or evening when you are planning to brush them. Use cleaning crystals or another cleaner specifically designed for this purpose. This will remove bad odors, staining, and bacteria from the aligners.

You can make your own solution with equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a cup. Soak aligners and then rinse them thoroughly with lukewarm water.

  1. Use the case you were given for your aligners when you remove them to eat. Keeping the aligners in the case will keep them protected from damage and dirt will not accumulate on them. Consider getting an extra case and carrying one with you at all times.

Don’t’s:

  1. Don’t use a coarse or hard bristle brush to clean your aligners. This can leave scratches on them which can eventually crack.
  2. Toothpaste can be too abrasive, too, so do not use it to clean them. Plus, most toothpaste contains detergents that can degrade the material of your aligners over time.
  3. Avoid any scented or colored soaps. They can leave a residue on your trays, which could stain them and leave an unpleasant taste.
  4. Don’t clean your aligners with denture cleaner or mouthwash, especially if the products contain alcohol. This can damage the aligners.
  5. Avoid storing your aligners near heat. If you’re storing them for an extended period make sure to put them in a cool place, ideally in an airtight case. The plastic can warp and then break if stored near heat and humidity. Make sure the aligners are completely dry before storing them. Dampness is an invitation for bacteria to grow.

Find the process that works best for you to keep your aligners clean by keeping these tips in mind. Your aligners will stay fresh and clean and you will protect your teeth and overall dental health, too.

Now let’s talk about stains.

Clear Aligners and Stains

The best way to deal with stains on your clear aligners is to avoid things that will stain them to begin with. Here are some tips that will help:

  • Don’t eat with your aligners in your mouth.
  • Avoid tea, coffee, and any drinks with color while the aligners are in your mouth.
  • Stick to water as much as possible.
  • Deal with any stains as soon as possible. Don’t let them set.
  • Stains should be brushed with a soft toothbrush and a clear, unscented, antibacterial soap. 
  • Soak stained aligners for 20 minutes in one part peroxide and one part lukewarm water.

The Importance of Taking Care of Invisalign Aligners 

It’s an exciting time when you start using your clear aligners to straighten your teeth. By cleaning them properly and following a few basic suggestions for their care, they will do their job efficiently to give you a beautiful smile. 

Here at Strafford Dental Associates, we offer effective and discreet Invisalign treatment to help patients achieve a straighter, brighter, and more confident smile. And we’re here to help every step of the way! We serve patients from the Main Line, including Wayne, Malvern, Devon, Radner, Paoli, Berwyn, King of Prussia, and Villanova.

Contact us today to set up an appointment!