Are you wondering how to keep Invisalign clean?

Whether you already use the aligners or are considering them for a straighter smile, knowing the cleaning routine is an important consideration. Without proper cleaning, the aligners can become discolored or scratched, making them no longer invisible.

Keep reading to learn the do’s and don’ts of how to clean Invisalign.

Do Learn How Often to Clean Invisalign

You’ll need to clean your Invisalign aligners every day. Food and bacteria can build up quickly on the trays, so frequent cleaning is a must to keep them clear and smelling fresh.

You’ll want to soak your trays at least once daily. You can rinse them more often depending on how often you eat and take them out.

Do Use the Right Type of Cleaner

The best way to clean your aligners is to use a cleaner designed for Invisalign. Retainer cleaners work safely on Invisalign aligners. You can also use a gentle clear liquid soap.

Other products, including many types of toothpaste, can damage your aligners. The benefit of Invisalign is that the aligners seem to disappear on your teeth. If your trays become discolored or scratched, they become visible when you wear them.

Do Soak Your Aligners

Soaking the aligners in the Invisalign crystals or retainer cleaner helps to remove any built-up gunk on the trays. Follow the instructions of the specific product you use for the best results. You’ll usually need to soak for about 20 minutes each time.

When you’re done soaking the aligners, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush the surfaces to remove additional gunk. Rinse them well and dry them before you put the aligners back in your mouth.

Do Brush and Floss Your Teeth

To keep your aligners clean and maintain your oral hygiene, you also need to focus on regular brushing and flossing. Without proper oral care, the food and plaque on your teeth stay there when trapped under the trays, which can lead to dental problems.

The plaque can lead to cavities in the teeth. Statistics show that 59% of kids ages 12 to 19 have cavities in their permanent teeth. In adults, 92% of people ages 20 to 64 have cavities.

In adults who use Invisalign, periodontal disease can be an issue without proper oral hygiene. Periodontal disease affects 47.2% of people age 30 and older. 

You can prevent those dental issues by brushing and flossing every time you eat. One of the perks of Invisalign over braces is that you can brush and floss your teeth normally. Follow the general recommendation of brushing for a minimum of two minutes each time followed by flossing.

Do Brush Your Aligners

Brushing your aligners at the same time as you brush your teeth can help keep them as clean as possible throughout the day. Keep a separate toothbrush that you only use for the aligners with the softest bristles you can find. Baby toothbrushes work well because they’re especially soft.

You can use a small amount of clear, gentle soap with the toothbrush or brush them with just water. Use gentle brush strokes to avoid damaging or scratching the aligners.

Do Rinse Aligners After Removing

While you’ll wear your aligners most of the time night and day, there will be times when you take them out. Rinse the aligners when you remove them. This gets rid of the saliva, food particles, or other things that get on the aligners. 

Do Handle Stains Safely

Even with proper care, you might notice that your aligners become cloudy or get some stains on them occasionally. Avoid using anything harsh to remove the stains. 

You can safely remove cloudiness by combining a 50-50 mix of warm water and hydrogen peroxide. Soak the aligners for a few hours in the mixture and rinse them well.

An option for stains is to dip a toothbrush in water and then in baking soda. Brush the stained areas gently with the toothbrush. Soaking the trays in a 50-50 mix of water and vinegar can also help with stains.

Don’t Use Colored or Scented Cleaners

Several cleaners work for Invisalign, but there are some cleaners you should avoid. Colored soaps can tint the clear aligners and cause your teeth to look discolored. Scented soaps might leave behind residue, which can cause the trays to taste bad.

It’s also best to avoid using mouthwash on your aligners. The coloring in many mouthwash products can stain the plastic. They can also contain harsh ingredients that might damage the Invisalign trays.

Don’t Eat or Drink With Aligners

You can drink water while wearing your aligners, but you should take them out with any other drinks or food. Other drinks can stain the trays. 

Food can also cause stains on the aligners. They’re not designed to the pressure and impact of food, which can cause damage. The food can also get stuck in the aligners.

Keep your case with you so you’re always prepared to take out the aligners when you eat or drink.

Don’t Leave Them Out Without Protection

The recommended amount of time to wear your aligners each day is 20 to 22 hours. However, you’ll take them out occasionally for different activities, such as eating or brushing your teeth.

When you do, put the aligners in the case to protect them. If you leave them out, they can collect bacteria, dirt, or other debris that you don’t want in your mouth. Leaving them out can also cause damage, which means they aligners won’t fit correctly.

Don’t Use Hot Water

It might seem like hot water is the best way to kill bacteria and clean your aligners, but it can cause damage to them. The heat can change the shape, which means they won’t be effective in straightening your teeth. Keep the water lukewarm to clean effectively without changing the shape of your Invisalign trays.

Learn How to Keep Invisalign Clean

Figuring out how to keep Invisalign clean is important to keep the aligners invisible and in good condition. The cleaning routine isn’t difficult, but it takes a little time each day to commit to the various steps.

Learn more about Invisalign if you’re ready to enjoy a straighter smile.