Clear aligners or invisible aligners are orthodontic devices designed to straighten your teeth. They are effective and affordable solutions to gain back that smile and confidence. However, a cleaning routine is crucial to maintaining these devices. Without proper cleaning, your aligners can become dirty and discolored. You can keep them clean with frequent cleaning. Otherwise, food, saliva and bacteria can build up on the aligner, making them unhygienic. It can also lead to bad breath and other dental problems. One of the most effective ways to clean your aligners is to soak the trays at least once daily. How often you rinse them depends on how many times you eat or take them out.
Best Practices for Maintaining Clear Aligners
There are different methods for cleaning your aligners and below are some of the best practices:
Brush and Floss
It's not enough to just clean your aligners; you must also regularly brush and floss your teeth. Without brushing and flossing, food trapped in your teeth can lead to dental issues. About 35 percent of the Canadian population have untreated tooth decay and only about 28 percent actually floss 5 times a week! This can lead to even more dental problems when not addressed. You can avoid these dental problems by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Brush Your Aligners
You need to brush both your teeth and the clear aligners to ensure they are efficiently cleaned. We suggest that you keep a separate toothbrush for each. To avoid damaging your aligners, it's also crucial that you know how to properly clean them.
Avoid Using Scented Cleaners
Be careful with the cleaner as that can affect your aligners. Avoid colored soap as it can lead to discolored teeth. Scented soap might also leave a residue. If you're using mouthwash, ensure that you remove your clear aligners first before using the cleaning solution.
Always Rinse the Aligners After Removing Them
It's advised not to use your aligners when you're eating or drinking juice or other beverage other than water. Don't wear it unless you have rinsed it properly.
Avoid Using Hot Water
You may think that hot water can kill bacteria — it can only damage your dental device. Over time, the heated water changes the shape of your aligner.
Use the Right Type of Cleaner
As much as possible, only use the right type of cleaner for maintaining your clear aligners. If you're not sure about what to use, please don't hesitate to contact your dentist or read the rest of this article for recommendations.
How Often Should I Clean My Aligners?
It's recommended that you clean them at least twice a day and rinse them with lukewarm water to keep them odor-free and clean. Also, it's always best to deep-clean them at least once a day to ensure proper cleaning. Make sure that you properly store them when you're eating as open-air exposes them to bacteria that may lead to dental issues.
What Should I Use For Cleaning My Clear Aligners?
Below are the best remedies for properly cleaning your aligners. Contact your dentist if you have questions.
Vinegar is one of the best cleaning solutions that you can use for your clear aligners as it doesn't just clean them but also deodorizes your dental device. It's effective in helping you get rid of germs and plaque building up in your invisible aligners. Use this cleaning solution for soaking your aligners. Mix the white vinegar with lukewarm water and stir it until it's mixed properly. Let your aligner soak for up to 30 minutes, enough to remove the plaque and germs. Rinse it with water afterward.
As mentioned earlier, don't use colored soap for cleaning your clear invisible aligners. Apply a little soap on the trays and use a soft-bristled toothbrush for cleaning your aligner. Properly rinse it with warm water after.
You may also consider using a little hydrogen peroxide when there are stains in your clear aligners. Combine it with warm water and soak your device for about 15 to 30 minutes. While this solution is best for removing stains, it's not enough to prevent build-up. It's always best to also brush your clear aligners in addition to just soaking them in a cleaning solution.
You don't have to worry about damaging the trays with the baking soda solution. It's also best for killing the bacteria and getting rid of food particles stuck on the trays. Soak your clear aligner to the solution for at least 30 minutes.
Retainer Cleaner or Cleaning Crystals
You can also use a retainer cleaner in tablet form for cleaning your aligner. Simply dissolve it in water and soal your device for about 20 minutes. Cleaning crystals may be an expensive option but they are odor-free and effective at effectively cleaning your clear aligner.
What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Aligners
When brushing your aligners, please only use non-abrasive toothpaste and use gentle strokes to avoid scratching or damaging your orthodontic devices. Don't use abrasive toothpaste and colored mouthwash as it may affect the look of your clear aligner. Harsh chemicals such as alcohol or bleach can permanently warp and discolor your aligner. Please avoid at all costs. There may be times when you suddenly forget to remove your clear aligner when you're eating or drinking a beverage. To remedy this mistake, take out your aligner as soon as possible and give it a good rinse. Don't use hot water as that can damage the plastic.
Get in Touch With AlignerCo
You can straighten your teeth in only 3 simple steps. Simply order an impression kit from us and send it back so we can map out a good treatment plan for you. And the last step is to simply watch the magic happen. Get in touch with us today!