There are many benefits to choosing Invisalign for your orthodontic treatment. However, if you do not clean your Invisalign aligners properly, they may become discolored. Discoloration can make your teeth appear yellow.
The build-up of bacteria may also cause bad breath and affect the health of your teeth. If this occurs, then other people are likely to notice that you are wearing invisible braces. This would typically defeat the purpose of choosing Invisalign treatment in the first place.
At-home clear aligners are a safe, effective, and cheaper alternative to Invisalign.
Although Invisalign aligners must be disposed of every couple of weeks, they still require cleaning. Otherwise, they can quickly become smelly or dirty.
It is essential to take your Invisalign out every morning to effectively brush your teeth and the aligner trays. As bacteria can collect on the trays while you sleep, maintaining a good morning routine is crucial for your oral hygiene. You should also do this before bed every evening.
You can clean the Invisalign aligners using a small amount of clear antibacterial soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush. This easily removes any stuck-on food particles and keeps the aligners looking clean and clear.
Be sure to rinse the clear aligners every time you remove them. Besides your morning and evening cleaning schedule, you should also rinse your aligners every time you take them out of your mouth. This prevents plaque and any dried saliva from collecting on the aligners and makes it more comfortable to insert.
There is a difference between cleaning and rinsing your Invisalign aligners. Rinsing your aligners may make them look slightly cleaner. However, rinsing does not always address the unseen bacteria that can build up.
Additionally, you should soak your aligners once a day. Place your aligners either in a denture cleaner or Invisalign Sterialigner solution. Once the aligners finish soaking, use a toothbrush to wipe away any caked-on food or plaque. Then, rinse the aligners before placing them back into your mouth.
Always brush and floss your teeth before you slip the trays back into your mouth. Otherwise, food particles could become trapped against your teeth inside the clear aligners. Maintaining good oral hygiene while wearing your clear aligners is essential. Otherwise, you will still have dental issues like tooth decay or gum disease in the future.
It is a good idea to pack whatever you need to correctly care for your aligners and carry them with you wherever you go. This allows you to look after your Invisalign trays even when you are not at home.
There are several cleaning solutions you can use to soak your aligners:
Soap and water is an easy option for cleaning clear aligners. Squeeze a small amount of gentle, liquid soap into a warm, but not hot, cup of water and mix to create suds. Soak your clear aligners in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse clean.
To make a vinegar and water solution, mix one part white vinegar with three parts warm water. The water should not be too hot, as this could damage your aligners' plastic. Soak your aligners in the vinegar and water for 20 minutes, then rinse with cool water.
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with half a cup of water. Then, soak your aligners in the solution for 60 minutes. Remove your aligners and rinse them before placing them back into your mouth.
Invisalign sells a ‘Sterialigner’ product with a tray for aligner cleaning. The Steraligner includes rubbing alcohol and sodium bicarbonate, a natural antiseptic. To clean your aligners using the Steraligner, set them in the tray and soak for three minutes. Rinse the solution off using warm water.
There are several products that can damage your aligners and set back your treatment if they are distorted and don’t fit well. Extra aligners, if needed, also cost additional fees. There are also various ways you should not clean your Invisalign aligners:
Mouthwash may be excellent for cleaning your mouth, but it is damaging to your aligners. The coloring dye in most mouthwashes may permanently stain your clear aligners and make it look less cosmetically appealing to wear.
Dishwashers use hot water, which can cause discoloration and damage your clear aligners by distorting them so that they don’t fit properly.
You should avoid using any soaps that include added dyes, such as blue, red, or green. These dyes can easily stain your Invisalign trays.
Avoid using anything not listed above. Bleach, alcohol, and other potent chemicals can permanently ruin your aligners. Always use one of the gentler solutions listed above.
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Whatever cleaning products you use, always work with a soft-bristle toothbrush. A coarse bristle-brush is too harsh on the trays.
Do not use toothpaste to clean Invisalign aligners. It may seem natural to use toothpaste to clean clear aligners as you do your teeth. However, toothpaste contains abrasive ingredients that are damaging to the aligners.
Toothpaste can leave residue on your trays and can cause discoloration. Additionally, they may give your trays an unpleasant taste.
You should clean your trays on a nightly basis. This should be the same time you brush and floss your teeth. Following this cleaning routine helps remove any food particles, debris, and bacteria you naturally collect during the day.
Additionally, you should clean your Invisalign aligners when they look visibly dirty. For example, if you accidentally drank something colored while wearing them or if you place them into your mouth too quickly after eating.
Living with Invisalign® clear aligners, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works/living-with-invisalign
Levrini, Luca et al., Scanning electron microscopy analysis of the growth of dental plaque on the surfaces of removable orthodontic aligners after the use of different cleaning methods., Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dentistry vol. 7 125-31. 15 Dec. 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26719726/
Tsolakis, Apostolos Ι et al., Use of Different Cleaning Methods for Removable Orthodontic Appliances: A Questionnaire Study.” Oral health & preventive dentistry vol. 17,4, 2019, 299-302, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31204392/