Dental News

Invisalign Aligner Cleaning Dos and Donts

January 12, 2015

Learn the best and worst ways to clean your Invisalign aligner or retainer trays.

Invisalign Aligner Cleaning Dos and DontsDo your Invisalign aligner trays smell bad? Are they clouding up with a hard white film? This means you are not doing a good enough job of cleaning them. Bacteria may then colonize the retainer, causing odors, and plaque may begin to build up, causing white spots. Fortunately, you can enjoy clean Invisalign aligners (or Invisalign retainers) by following these do’s and don’ts.

Do Brush Teeth Before Replacing Aligners

First of all, it is important to realize that it is impossible for your aligner or retainer trays to stay clean if you are placing them on dirty teeth. To make matters worse, putting trays on dirty teeth cuts off the cleansing flow of saliva and essentially allows teeth to marinate in a bath of bacteria and acids, which can cause enamel erosion and cavities. For the sake of your trays and your teeth, always clean your mouth before replacing your aligner or retainer.

Do Brush Your Aligner Trays, But Don’t Use Toothpaste

The best way to keep your Invisalign trays from getting dirty is to clean them every day by brushing with a soft toothbrush. However, be sure not to use any toothpaste when you do this, as toothpastes contain abrasives that can scratch the plastic tray and give it a dull, cloudy appearance.

Do Soak Your Aligner Trays

You should soak your aligner trays periodically as a supplement to your daily cleaning. Many different products and home remedies are available, but you need to be careful to only choose methods that are specifically approved for Invisalign trays, not for traditional retainers or for dentures. The best option is probably to use Invisalign crystals. This product is made by Invisalign specifically for their trays, and it will not damage or discolor them. It is one of the best ways to deal with the white plaque buildup that may develop on trays over time. To kill bacteria and reduce odors, other methods may be used. For example, one good home remedy is to soak your retainer in 50-50 mix of water and hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes.

Don’t Use Mouthwash

Some people like to soak their Invisalign trays in mouthwash to give them a fresh scent and taste. However, this is actually not the best idea. First of all, many mouthwashes contain dyes that can potentially discolor the trays. Plus, some products also contain alcohol that may damage the plastic. Besides, studies on denture cleaning have shown that mouthwash is not very effective at killing bacteria on dental appliances.

Don’t Use Denture Tablets

One final mistake to avoid is using denture tablets to clean your Invisalign trays. Over time, denture tablets can turn the plastic yellow. While you may be able to get away with using denture tablets to clean aligner trays that you will soon discard anyway, you would not want to use it on a retainer that you need to wear for years to come.

Remember, a new Invisalign retainer can cost about $250 so take care of yours right!

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