how to clean invisalign

How to Clean Your Invisalign Trays Like a Pro

The numerous benefits of Invisalign convince many people to choose this method over traditional braces. One of the biggest perks is the nearly invisible design. You can straighten your teeth without noticeable metal filling your mouth.

But figuring out how to clean Invisalign trays is important to keep your aligners looking and smelling great. Without proper cleaning, they can get stinky or discolored, and there’s nothing subtle about that.

The good news is Invisalign trays are easy to clean. You just have to remember to do it. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to cleaning Invisalign retainers, so you can keep your mouth fresh and clean.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign uses a series of aligners made from resin to slowly shift your teeth. Your dentist takes three-dimensional images of your teeth to create custom trays that fit tightly to your teeth.

Roughly every two weeks you get a new set of aligners that move your teeth slightly more toward the target alignment. The slight change in the shape puts pressure on your teeth to move them gradually.

Importance of Cleaning Invisalign Trays

Since you switch out your aligner every two weeks, does it really matter how clean you keep them?

Two weeks may not seem like much, but that’s plenty of time for your trays to get gross, scratched, or discolored. It’s also enough time to trap harmful bacteria, sugar, and food chunks against your teeth.

You chose Invisalign for the inconspicuous way it straightens your teeth. If the aligners look cloudy or discolored, you lose that benefit. Even if it’s for just two weeks, that’s a long time to feel self-conscious. You also don’t want to increase your chances of plaque buildup and cavities. That can cause long-term problems and result in costly dental procedures.

Clean Morning and Night

Just like you brush your teeth every morning and night, you also need to clean your aligners at those times.

Bacteria can grow in your trays while you sleep. Cleaning it first thing in the morning lets you start your day on a fresh, clean note.

Rinse When You Remove Aligners

Since you only have to wear your aligners 20 to 22 hours per day, you’ll likely take them out frequently.

Always remove them before you eat or drink, unless you’re just drinking water. Eating with them in your mouth increases the chances of getting food under them. It can also lead to staining or damage. They’re not designed to withstand eating, so the pressure can damage them. You might also remove them while playing sports or going to an event where you don’t want anyone to notice you’re wearing Invisalign.

Run your aligners under lukewarm water each time you remove them. This gets rid of any saliva, food particles, and other debris from sticking to them.

Avoid water that’s hot. Since the aligners are made from a plastic material, they can cause distortion in the tray. That can make them ineffective since they’re created just for your teeth.

If you’re going to keep them out for a while, put them in their case. This helps minimize bacterial growth and dirt on your aligners. It can also prevent damage.

It’s a good idea to soak them if you leave them out for more than a short time without putting them in the case. This removes any debris and bacteria that gets on them.

Use a Toothbrush

Designate a separate toothbrush for your Invisalign aligners to give them an extra scrub. Don’t brush the trays too hard, or you might cause damage.

Brush the inside and outside of the aligner. The inside is important since it touches your teeth, but you also want to remove saliva and bacteria from the outside of the tray. This keeps smelly and potentially harmful particles out of your mouth.

You can use gentle clear soap on the aligners for extra cleaning power. Rinse them thoroughly to remove all soap remnants.

Inspect your aligners closely after cleaning to make sure you got it all. Go back over any areas with remaining particles.

Clean Your Teeth, Too

Cleaning your teeth when you clean your aligners is just as important to your oral health. If you don’t, you leave food particles that get trapped once you put your retainers back in your mouth. That can cause plaque buildup and even cavities.

Since your Invisalign aligners are created specifically to your teeth for a tight fit, they press any food remnants into your teeth. That close contact can do a lot of damage to your teeth, especially if you make it a habit to skip brushing and flossing.

Taking care of your teeth is much easier with Invisalign than traditional braces because you can take them out of your mouth.

Brush and floss regularly while your trays are out. You should brush at least two times daily and floss at least once, but brushing more isn’t a bad thing. Brush each time you eat to eliminate having food trapped.

Soak Your Aligners

You also need to soak your trays daily to deep clean them.

You can get the Invisalign cleaning crystals to do the job. Denture cleaner also works.

Soak the trays for 10 to 15 minutes per day, following the instructions on the cleaning crystals. Rinse them well before you put them back on your teeth.

Avoid Damaging Products

Some normal oral care products can be damaging to your Invisalign trays.

Skip the toothpaste when cleaning your aligners. It’s great for polishing your teeth, but toothpaste can be too abrasive for the trays. It can cause little scratches in them and make them look cloudy. The cloudiness makes them look old and takes away from the invisibility effect.

Mouthwash is another product to avoid. Don’t soak your trays in mouthwash as they can take on the color of the liquid.

Tinted soaps can also cause discoloration. Avoid any cleaner with color or harsh ingredients that could damage the material.

It’s also best to avoid anything with fragrance. It can leave a bad taste in the trays that makes them unpleasant to wear.

How to Clean Invisalign Trays

Figuring out how to clean Invisalign trays is an important part of caring for them. Improper cleaning can damage them or cause discoloration that makes them no longer invisible on your teeth.

Are you considering Invisalign? Check out our before and after photos and schedule a free consultation with our renowned Dr. David Eshom.

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