Updated on February 7, 2024
5 min read

Bad Breath from Invisalign (Clear Aligners)

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Why Does Invisalign Cause Bad Breath?

Bad breath from Invisalign is usually linked to inadequate aligner care. You must improve your oral hygiene and aligner cleaning routine if your aligners smell bad.

Dry mouth, foods with strong odors, and existing oral health issues can also contribute to bad breath during Invisalign treatment.

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7 Tips to Prevent and Eliminate Invisalign Bad Breath 

Keeping your aligners clean is the most effective way to avoid bad breath during treatment. Poor aligner care is the main reason for persistent bad breath with Invisalign.

However, there are additional steps you can take to keep your breath fresh while wearing your aligners. Try the following:

1. Improve Your Brushing Routine

Proper tooth brushing is the easiest way to avoid bad breath with Invisalign. It helps remove the bacteria that contribute to bad breath.

Brushing also prevents plaque from accumulating on your teeth and gums. Plaque buildup can lead to cavities and gum disease, causing bad breath and long-term damage to your teeth.

To ensure your brushing is effective:

  • Brush at least twice daily (in the morning and before bed)
  • Consider brushing 20 minutes after meals and snacks, especially if they are sticky or sugary
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will disrupt plaque without harming your gums or enamel

Don’t forget to brush your tongue (bacteria can also accumulate here)!

2. Floss Daily

Flossing at least once daily during orthodontic treatment is also essential to prevent odor buildup. 

Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles between your teeth. It also removes plaque and food at the gum line that your toothbrush cannot reach.

A Waterpik or water flosser can also help clean your gums and between your teeth. However, keep in mind that a Waterpik does not replace regular flossing. Use your Waterpik in addition to string floss.

3. Use Mouthwash

An antibacterial mouthwash can help freshen your breath by targeting the bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay.

After brushing and flossing, swish the mouthwash for about one minute. Then, spit it out. Don’t use mouthwash while you have your aligners in.

4. Remove Your Aligners Before Eating or Drinking

There are no food restrictions with Invisalign treatment. However, you should not eat or drink with your invisible aligners in your mouth.

Remove your aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water. This ensures food particles do not get trapped in your aligners, which can contribute to bad breath. 

5. Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Be sure to keep your dental appointments during orthodontic treatment. Your dentist or orthodontist can help to identify any issues that may lead to bad breath or affect the long-term health of your teeth. 

Dentists also provide professional cleanings, which can remove the hardened plaque or tartar that regular brushing and flossing can’t eliminate.

6. Maintain a Healthy Diet

For your breath and health, it’s best to maintain a diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods. Avoid highly processed foods that contain added sugar, or enjoy them in moderation.

Refined sugar feeds the bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Limit how frequently you expose your teeth to sugar, and consider brushing your teeth after eating snacks.

You can also help prevent bad breath by brushing after eating pungent foods like garlic or onions.

7. Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated helps maintain healthy saliva flow, preventing dry mouth. Consider always keeping a bottle of water with you. 

In addition to avoiding dry mouth, drinking water is important for your health.

What Causes Invisalign Dry Mouth?

Some Invisalign patients find that they have a dry mouth with Invisalign. Dry mouth is a common issue for people first starting orthodontic treatment.

woman with invisalign aligners

Initially, your mouth may treat your plastic aligners like a foreign object. This can cause gum swelling and irritation.

Saliva is essential for neutralizing bad breath-causing bacteria. It washes away food particles and prevents cavities and other infections that could otherwise contribute to bad breath.

Over time, your mouth will adjust to your aligners. Any bad breath or dry mouth symptoms should subside, especially if you stay hydrated and maintain good oral hygiene.

Find the best at-home clear aligners for mild misalignment. See our expert recommendations.

How to Clean Your Invisalign

Invisalign aligners must be cleaned regularly to prevent chronic bad breath. 

Invisalign clear aligners surrounded by cleaning devices such as electric toothbrush and floss on the table

The aligners typically are disposed of every couple of weeks. However, they still require daily cleaning. Otherwise, you may be wearing bad-smelling or dirty aligners every day for the length of your orthodontic treatment.1

There is a difference between cleaning and rinsing your clear aligners. Rinsing the aligners may make them look slightly cleaner by removing large food particles, but it may not remove unseen bacteria.

Effective Cleaning

The following is a basic nightly cleaning routine:

  1. Rinse your clear aligners with water.
  2. Brush your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle clear liquid soap (do not use the toothbrush you use to brush your teeth daily).
  3. Rinse your aligners and toothbrush after brushing.
  4. Store your aligners in a protective case when they are not in use.

What to Avoid

Some cleaners are too harsh or damaging for your Invisalign aligners. Do not use the following to wash your aligners:

  • Denture cleaners
  • Mouthwashes, especially those with alcohol 
  • Scented soaps
  • Toothpaste, especially whitening ones 
  • Liquid soaps with microbeads 


Some people experience bad breath during their treatment with Invisalign. It’s typically caused by poor aligner care.

You can prevent or reduce bad breath and dry mouth by cleaning your teeth and aligners properly, maintaining a balanced diet, and staying hydrated.

Be sure to keep your regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist or orthodontist. They can address any underlying oral health issues affecting your aligner treatment.

What’s Next?

Discover the best fit for your smile.

Explore top at-home clear aligner brands.

Last updated on February 7, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Living with Invisalign® clear aligners.” Invisalign.
  2. Frequently asked questions.” Movemints.
  3. Schaefer, Isabelle, and Bert Braumann. “Halitosis, oral health and quality of life during treatment with Invisalign(®) and the effect of a low-dose chlorhexidine solution.” Journal of Orofacial Orthopedics / Fortschritte der Kieferorthopadie, 2010.
  4. Papadimitriou, Aikaterini, et al.Clinical effectiveness of Invisalign® orthodontic treatment: a systematic review.” Progress in Orthodontics, 2018.
  5. Aylıkcı, Bahadır Uğur, and Hakan Colak. Halitosis: From diagnosis to management.” Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine, 2013.
  6. Porter, S R, and C Scully. “Oral malodour (halitosis).” British Medical Journal, 2006.
  7. Bicak, Damla Aksit. A Current Approach to Halitosis and Oral Malodor- A Mini Review.” The Open Dentistry Journal, 2018.
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