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How to Clean Your Invisalign: 7 Easy Tips For Fresh Breath

Invisalign trays are removable orthodontic aligners that offer a discreet alternative to traditional braces. These invisible aligners straighten teeth effectively and are important in maintaining optimal oral health.

However, one common challenge faced by many individuals with Invisalign is ensuring fresh breath while wearing the aligners throughout the day. This blog aims to provide insights into the importance of Invisalign in oral health maintenance and offers practical tips to keep aligners clean for fresh breath.

The Importance of Clean Invisalign

Free Aligner Invisible Aligner photo and picture

Invisalign aligners provide a discreet appearance that is difficult to notice when worn. It makes Invisalign wearers feel confident about their smiles.

Invisalign aligners, as your orthodontic treatment, are to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. Even though it is replaced every one to two weeks, keeping your Invisalign trays clean as you wear them is important. Wearing Invisalign aligners that are not properly cleaned can lead to stuck food particles, which can accumulate bacteria.

Unclean Invisalign aligners pose several oral health risks, including:

Gum Disease: Extended periods of aligner use without proper cleaning can lead to gum inflammation or other issues.

Cavities: Food particles can get trapped between the aligners and teeth, increasing the risk of cavities if not adequately cleaned.

Bad Breath: Poor oral hygiene and dirty aligners can result in bad breath.

White Spot Lesions (WSL): Patients who do not maintain good oral hygiene during Invisalign treatment may develop WSLs, which are areas of decalcification on the surface of the teeth.

Slow Resorption of Roots: Some studies suggest that prolonged use of aligners might weaken tooth roots, resulting in slow resorption over time.

7 Easy Tips For Keeping Your Invisalign Aligners Clean and Breath Fresh

To keep your mouth fresh, clean your Invisalign aligners properly. Cleaning Invisalign aligners keeps your breath fresh and helps avoid tooth decay and other dental issues. Here are seven tips for cleaning your Invisalign to help you maintain fresh breath:

1. Rinse Regularly (and Properly)

Rinse your aligners immediately after each meal or snack to clean your Invisalign aligners. This simple yet effective practice helps to dislodge and remove food particles that cling to the aligners and teeth, potentially causing bacterial growth and odour. Even a quick rinse under cold water can significantly reduce the risk of built-up plaque and keep your breath smelling fresher.

But rinsing your Invisalign aligner trays has a proper technique.

Always use lukewarm water to rinse your aligners; too hot can warp the plastic, and too cold may not be effective. While rinsing, gently run the water around the aligners to dislodge any food particles or plaque.

Do not use any harsh soaps or detergents on your aligners. These can leave an unpleasant residue and irritate the tissues inside your mouth. Use clear liquid soap.

Alternatively, you can use baking soda only after it has completely dissolved in warm water to avoid scratching the Invisalign trays.

2. Soak It Up (the Right Way)

To clean your Invisalign aligners while ensuring fresh breath, it is recommended to soak them in lukewarm water with Invisalign cleaning crystals or tablets daily. 

However, there are also alternative methods you can consider if you don’t have access to the official cleaning products:

  • White Vinegar: Mix equal parts with warm water, then let your aligners soak for about 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
  • Mild Dish Soap: Dilute it in water, making sure not to use toothpaste as it may scratch the surface of the aligners. Rinse well after soaking.
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution: Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and warm water, then soak your aligners for about 30 minutes. Rinse well before using.

These alternatives might not be as effective as the Invisalign cleaning system, but they can keep your aligners clean when needed. Always follow proper hygiene practices by washing your hands before handling your aligners, and avoid using hot water, which could warp the plastic material.

3. Gentle Brushing of Aligners

Gentle brushing of your Invisalign aligners is essential to keeping them clean and free from bacteria. To brush your aligners, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid using toothpaste, which can scratch the surface of the aligners.

When brushing your Invisalign clear aligners, be gentle and avoid using too much pressure to avoid damage to the Invisalign trays. You can brush properly by following these steps:

  1. Rinse your clear aligners with lukewarm water to remove any loose debris.
  2. Apply a small amount of clear, gentle soap to your soft toothbrush or use specialised Invisalign cleaning crystals.
  3. Gently brush the inside and outside of your aligners using circular motions for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Rinse your Invisalign thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove any soap residue.
  5. Dry your clean Invisalign trays with a soft towel, or let them air dry before putting them back in your mouth.

4. Maintaining Oral Hygiene

Free photo young woman pouring mouth wash

Paying attention to your oral care routine is critical when wearing aligners, as food particles and bacteria trap between your teeth and aligners.

Maintain oral hygiene routine when wearing Invisalign aligners. Consider adding the following habits into your daily cleaning routine:

  1. Tongue Scraping: Using a tongue scraper helps eliminate bacteria, dead cells, and odour-causing compounds from the surface of your tongue. This simple step contributes to fresher breath and better overall oral health.
  2. Mouthwash: A high-quality mouthwash can help reduce bacteria levels in your mouth, providing extra protection against bad breath and gum disease. Choose an alcohol-free option to minimise potential irritation caused by traditional mouthwashes containing alcohol.

5. Avoiding Colored and Sugary Drinks While Wearing Aligners

When wearing Invisalign aligners, avoid coloured and sugary drinks that can stain the aligners. Common staining culprits include coffee, tea, red wine, and soda.

To prevent staining, you should remove your aligners before consuming these beverages and rinse your mouth and the aligners with water afterwards before putting them back in.

6. Give Your Breath a Boost

Antimicrobial mouthwash can provide an added boost to your breath while wearing Invisalign aligners. It contains chlorhexidine gluconate, which controls bacterial growth and reduces plaque formation, contributing to fresher breath and improved oral health.

Here are some tips for using antimicrobial mouthwash effectively:

  1. Choose an alcohol-free option to minimise potential irritation caused by traditional mouthwashes containing alcohol.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding frequency of use. Typically, once or twice per day is sufficient.
  3. Swish the mouthwash around your mouth for approximately 30 seconds before spitting it out. Do not swallow the mouthwash.
  4. Be aware that antimicrobial mouthwashes do not replace regular brushing and flossing; they are an adjunctive measure to enhance oral hygiene.

7. Regular Check-Ups with Your Dentist

Free photo woman getting her teeth cleaned at the dentist

Regular check-ups with your dentist involve cleanings to remove hardened tartar deposits that cannot be removed through normal brushing and flossing alone. Removing them reduces the risk of developing gum disease and promotes healthy gums.

Also, your dentist can monitor your progress and address any concerns related to your Invisalign treatment. They can identify any issues early on, such as misaligned teeth or improper wear of the aligners, allowing for timely intervention and adjustment of your treatment plan.

Knowing that your dentist has reviewed your progress gives you peace of mind and confidence in reaching your desired outcome.

Do’s and Don’ts for Sparkling Aligners and Fresh Breath

Knowing do’s and don’ts when cleaning Invisalign aligners helps the clear aligners keep their optimal state to be effective and prevent encountering oral issues or problems.

To promote clean aligners and fresh breath, here are some positive actions to take:

  1. Rinse your aligners regularly with cool or lukewarm water to remove any food or bacteria that may have accumulated on them.
  2. Use an antimicrobial rinse to kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Look for a rinse that is specifically designed for use with aligners.
  3. Brush and floss before putting back your aligners in your mouth.
  4. Soak your aligner trays in a cleaning solution at least once daily to remove any stubborn stains or bacteria.
  5. Remove your Invisalign trays before mouthwash.
  6. Keep your Invisalign trays on their protective case when you are not using or cleaning them.

On the other hand, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Don’t use hot water to clean your aligners, as this can cause them to warp and lose their shape.
  2. Don’t use harsh chemicals or abrasive toothpaste to clean your clear aligners, as this can damage them and make them more prone to bacteria buildup.
  3. Don’t eat or drink anything other than water, which can stain them and cause bad breath.
  4. Do not use denture cleaners to clean clear aligners.
  5. Do not clean Invisalign trays with mouthwash.
  6. Do not forget to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

Don’t Forget Your Teeth and Gums!

Free photo close-up of concentrated woman brushing teeth

Invisalign cleaning does not stop on the Invisalign trays. Pay attention to your teeth and gum, as they are also part of achieving a perfect smile.

Here’s why it’s important and how to keep your teeth and gums clean throughout the process:

Preventing decay and cavities

Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of cavities due to trapped food debris and plaque buildup around the aligner trays.

Reducing inflammation and gingivitis

Plaque accumulation leads to irritated and swollen gum tissue, increasing the likelihood of periodontal disease.

Enhancing the efficacy of Invisalign treatment

Proper oral care helps maintain healthy teeth and gums, allowing the aligners to work effectively without interference from bacterial growth or infection.

Keeping Teeth and Gums Clean:

  1. Brushing twice daily: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste to gently scrub all surfaces of your teeth, including the areas where the aligners meet the gum line.
  2. Flossing daily: Floss between each tooth and under the wire of your aligners to remove any remaining food particles and plaque.
  3. Tongue scraping: Regular tongue scraping removes bacteria and improves breath.
  4. Antiseptic mouthwashes: Consider using a natural antiseptic mouthwash after meals to reduce plaque formation and prevent gum disease.

Conclusion

Clean aligners and good oral hygiene are important for a healthy smile and the success of your Invisalign treatment. Regularly caring for your trays prevents staining and bacterial buildup, ensuring the aligners remain invisible and function effectively. Also, care for your teeth and gums to reduce the risk of decay, cavities, and periodontal disease—conditions that could hinder the effectiveness of your aligners.

For best results, embrace the outlined do’s — such as rinsing aligners in temperate water, using antimicrobial rinses, brushing and flossing thoroughly, and soaking the aligners in an appropriate cleaning solution. Don’t compromise your progress by indulging in bad habits like cleaning with hot water, eating or drinking with aligners, or using abrasive substances that could damage them.

Schedule your next dental appointment today to stay on track with your Invisalign journey and ensure that you take all the steps to a healthier, more confident smile.

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