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Maida Smiles (W. London)

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30 Jul
                           

How to Clean Invisalign: Do’s, Don’ts, and Best Practices 2024

                           

One of the most important things to remember about Invisalign aligners is that they must be cleaned.

Although the aligners are meant to be disposed of every couple of weeks, they still require cleaning. Otherwise, you can have a very smelly or dirty set of aligners to put on every day. Keep reading to find out the best practices for keeping your aligners clean.

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Cleaning vs rinsing Invisalign aligners

Remember, there’s a difference between cleaning and rinsing when it comes to Invisalign. Rinsing your aligners may make them appear slightly cleaner, but you haven’t done anything to address the unseen bacteria that can build up.

The following is the basic cleansing process listed on the Invisalign website for nightly cleaning:

  • Rinse your aligners with water every night.
  • Brush your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, clear liquid soap to remove any debris or food particles accumulated during the day.
  • Rinse thoroughly after brushing.
  • Store them in a protective case whenever they aren’t in use.

Cleaning accessories

Invisalign sells a “Steraligner” product with a tray. Its ingredients include rubbing alcohol and sodium bicarbonate, a natural antiseptic.

To clean your aligners, place them in the tray and soak them for 3 minutes. Rinse the sterilizing solution off and brush with warm water.

Invisalign also sells “cleaning crystals, ” which dissolve in water and soak your aligners.

These crystals contain cleansing agents, including sodium sulfate. If you’re looking for a less expensive and more accessible alternative, these ingredients are similar to those of products used to clean retainers (but not denture cleaners).

Is there any research on best cleaning practices?

The basic cleaning method described above is often enough to keep your aligners clean at night — but it may not be the most thorough approach.

A study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology studied the pathogens on invisible aligners that were changed every 2 weeks for 6 weeks.

They studied three approaches:

  1. rinsing with water
  2. using effervescent tablets plus brushing
  3. brushing the aligners alone with toothpaste and a toothbrush

At the study’s conclusion, researchers determined that brushing and using effervescent tablets most effectively cleaned the aligners. Brushing was only slightly inferior to using tablets.

How often should you clean your aligners?

It would be best if you cleaned your aligners on a nightly basis, usually at the same time you brush and floss your teeth. This helps to remove any built-up food, debris, and bacteria you naturally accumulate during the day.

You can also clean your Invisalign when they appear visibly dirty, such as if you accidentally drank something that wasn’t clear while wearing them or if you put them on too quickly after eating.

In addition to more extensive cleaning measures, you should rinse your aligners each time you remove them.

Even though you change your aligners every 2 weeks, they’re still worth cleaning carefully.

Failure to do so can cause the aligners to appear discoloured (making your teeth look yellow) or cause bad breath. Plus, you’re continually exposing your teeth to built-up bacteria.

Any cleansers to avoid?

Some cleaners are too harsh or damaging to use on your Invisalign aligners. Examples of these include:

  • – denture cleaners
  • – mouthwashes, especially those that contain alcohol
  • – scented soaps, which can easily start to taste bitter
  • – toothpaste

It would help to avoid cleansing soaps with added dyes (such as blue, red, or green). These can easily stain your Invisalign, which can make for a long 2 weeks of wearing.

Using a coarse bristle brush — not a soft-bristle toothbrush — may also be too harsh on your Invisalign.

Best ways to care for your aligners

Following some best practices for caring for your aligners can help keep them clean and bacteria-free. Here are some examples:

  • Always remove your aligners when eating. Otherwise, food particles can build up in the aligners or damage them, making them no longer effective.
  • Drink only water while your aligners are in. Otherwise, you risk staining or damaging them.
  • Refraining from using very hot water to clean the trays.
  • Store your aligners in an airtight container whenever you aren’t using them. This reduces the likelihood of losing them and protects them from bacteria.

These practices can help keep your aligners clean and your treatment most effective.

Takeaway

Invisalign aligners are a popular way to straighten teeth, but they need regular cleaning to be effective.

Taking care of your aligners can help keep them clear and undetectable. Because they’re made to be disposed of, they can’t usually withstand harsh cleaning methods, such as abrasive brushes or very hot water.