Invisalign Cleaning Tips

Invisalign is a brand of clear orthodontic trays that gradually straighten your smile. Rather than traditional metal braces, you use a set of aligners that your dentist custom-designs for your teeth. Using clear aligners is incredibly popular because the trays do not interfere with your diet or aesthetic. However, it is essential to know how to clean them. 

Closeup image of patient putting their clear Invisalign aligners in their mouth cosmetic dentistry dentists in Lansdale Pennsylvania

Rinse After Eating

A good practice in cleaning your Invisalign aligners is to rinse your mouth and your plastic aligners after you eat. Because you must wear the aligners all day and night, all the bacteria that build in your mouth will stay close to your teeth. Therefore, it is essential to eliminate as many bacteria as possible. You can do this by rinsing your mouth after you eat. 

When you eat, you leave behind small particles of food. They can become trapped between your teeth or under your gums. Then, the bacteria in your mouth consume the remaining food. Unfortunately, this causes the bacteria to multiply, which creates an unhealthy environment in your mouth. The harmful bacteria, plaque, will continue to build if you do not remove it properly. This can increase your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.

As more plaque builds on your teeth and on the aligners, it can actually cause them to change colors. Rather than clear aligners, they can turn yellow and dingy. 

Avoid Hot Water

When cleaning your Invisalign aligners, it is important to avoid using hot water. Typically, we use hot water to clean and sanitize many surfaces. However, hot water can damage your plastic trays. Although the plastic in your aligners is strong enough to shift your teeth, it is not durable enough to withstand high temperatures. 

When the thin plastic of removable trays is exposed to hot water, they will warp and change shape. This can hinder your smile journey. If your aligners change shape, they will not be able to shift your teeth effectively. Additionally, you may not be able to get the aligners to stay on your teeth. Even if you can get the aligner trays on your teeth, it will be uncomfortable or painful. Because your dentist customizes the aligners to your teeth, hot water can ruin the trays. 

Therefore, it is best to use cold or cool water while cleaning the trays. 

Don’t Use Abrasive Cleaners

While you clean your plastic trays, be sure to avoid any harsh or abrasive cleaners. Abrasive cleaners, such as a gritty toothpaste, can damage the surface of your aligners. In fact, using abrasive cleaners can create micro-scratches. This can create more space for bacteria to grow and flourish. Therefore, it is best to use a gentle liquid soap. After you wash your trays, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before placing them back in your mouth. 

Also, it would be best if you used a soft-bristled toothbrush while you cleaned your trays. Hard-bristled brushes can scratch your aligners as well.