How to Clean Your Invisalign Aligners
Cleaning your Invisalign aligners (or trays) is easy and important: there are several methods to brush, rinse, or soak your aligners to keep them sparkling clean and fresh.
Keeping your aligners clean is an important part of your Invisalign treatment. While your orthodontist will design the treatment to properly align your teeth, you'll be the one actually wearing the aligners. Proper compliance is critical to achieving a healthy, happy smile with Invisalign clear braces!
There are various methods to clean your Invisalign aligners – you don't have to stick to one method. In fact, the best way to protect your aligners is to brush them, rinse them, and soak them regularly.
Methods for Cleaning Your Invisalign Aligners
Brush your Aligners with a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush and Dish Soap
Using a separate toothbrush than your personal toothbrush, gently brush the aligners inside and out with a generic dish soap. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, put a pea-sized amount of dish soap on the toothbrush, run under water, and gently brush the entire aligner. Rinse thoroughly under water before putting back in your mouth.
Don't use toothpaste: the abrasive materials in toothpaste can scratch the surface of the aligners. And try to avoid very brightly-colored soaps with a lot of dye in them: this can potentially stain the aligners.
If you don't have dish soap available, you can use hand soap, or simply brush the aligners with water.
Soak Your Aligners in Denture Cleaner
Denture cleaner is sold over the counter at your local pharmacy and works well as a soaking solution for Invisalign. Polident is a popular and effective brand of denture cleaner. Simply soak both aligners in denture cleaner for about 15 minutes and rinse thoroughly before use.
Soak Your Aligners in Invisalign Cleaning Crystals
Invisalign Cleaning Crystals are a cleaning brand specifically designed by Invisalign to clean their clear aligners. Dissolve an individual packet of crystals into a glass of water and soak your aligners for 15 minutes. Rinse before putting back in your mouth. Invisalign cleaning crystals are a little pricier than the other options mentioned, but they are specifically designed to remove plaque and bacteria from your aligners, for the highest-quality clean.
Use EverSmile® WhiteFoam
EverSmile® WhiteFoam is a bacteria-killing, breath-freshening foam that you can apply directly into your aligners. With no brushing or soaking required, it's a good on-the-go solution to keep your aligners clean throughout the day. The foam gently whitens your teeth and your attachments, as well as whitening beneath the attachments to prevent discoloration. And its mint flavor makes WhiteFoam a great breath freshener any time. You can get WhiteFoam from your orthodontist or order online.
Soak in Hydrogen Peroxide
You might know hydrogen peroxide as a first-aid antiseptic or a bleaching agent for your hair, but it also is an excellent cleaner for Invisalign aligners! Mix equal parts warm water and 3% hydrogen peroxide, and soak both aligners for 15-30 minutes. Rinse before using. Note: hydrogen peroxide will kill the bacteria on your aligners, but not stop plaque, so you should brush them with water and/or dish soap using a soft-bristled brush after soaking to knock off any plaque that has accumulated.
Soak in White Distilled Vinegar
White distilled vinegar is an effective cleaning agent and works well for soaking aligners. Mix three parts warm water to 1 part vinegar (make sure it's white distilled vinegar, there are many other kinds that do not work for cleaning), and soak for 15-30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and brush to remove tartar or plaque.
What Not to Use to Clean Invisalign Aligners
Don’t Scrub with Toothpaste
Toothpaste has special minerals and additives to protect the enamel of your teeth, but it can scratch the surface of your aligners, making them more noticeable and less effective. Instead, brush them gently with water and dish soap using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Don't Soak Aligners in Colored Mouthwash
Long-term soaking in colored mouthwash can cause discoloration of the aligners. It's okay to douse them in mouthwash or swish mouthwash while wearing aligners, but rinse your mouth and aligners thoroughly afterwards. Or use a clear mouthwash, so as not to stain the trays.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Invisalign Aligners
How Often Should You Clean Your Aligners?
Clean your Invisalign aligners twice daily, along with brushing your teeth. Clean them by brushing or soaking using any of the methods described above, or a combination of them. For instance, some Invisalign patients prefer to brush them in the morning and soak them in the evening while they prepare for bed.
Remove aligners for eating and drinking anything but water, and store them in their case so they don't get damaged or lost. If possible, you should brush and floss after every meal, but if you don't have the ability to do that, just rinse your mouth with water and spit in the sink. Rinse the aligners under lukewarm water (hot water can warp the aligners) before putting them back in your mouth.
Keeping your aligners clean will help ensure your treatment is on track and progressing smoothly, and will prevent discoloration or staining on the aligners, making them look more noticeable.
Can I Use Cleaning Crystals?
Yes, Invisalign Cleaning Crystals are an excellent method to keep your Invisalign aligners sparkling clear and fresh. To use them, dissolve an individual packet of crystals into a glass of lukewarm water, and drop both aligners in. Soak them for 15-30 minutes in the solution, and then rinse after soaking to remove any residue. Soak every night for best results.
The cleaning crystal system is designed by Invisalign specifically to keep their aligners clean. They are optimized to kill bacteria and rid the aligners of any plaque build-up. You can order them online or get from your orthodontist.
How to Clean Your Invisalign Retainers
Cleaning your Invisalign Vivera™ retainers requires the same techniques as cleaning the aligners. Use retainer cleaning solution or denture cleaner (both available at your local pharmacy), Invisalign cleaning crystals, or brush your retainer with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild dish soap to clean.
If they retainer eventually becomes discolored, warped, or misshapen, you can move on to a new retainer. Vivera™ retainers come as a package of 4 sets of retainers (8 total, top and bottom), so your retainers will last for years and protect your smile and the gains of your Invisalign treatment.
Be sure to store your Vivera™ retainer in its case when not wearing, to prevent damage or loss.