With the growing need to keep teeth aligned and attractive, treatment with Invisalign® aligners is on the rise. However, anyone wearing aligners has discovered how important it is to keep them clean. To help you in this, we have created a short guide on Invisalign cleaning and some care tips.

If you have any Invisalign Malta treatment-related questions, you can book an appointment online or contact us directly on (+356) 2125 7253 (Skyparks Business Centre, Malta International Airport), or (+356) 2155 7323 (Dingli Street, Victoria, Gozo). For international patients, it is recommended to request a free e-consultation where we can discuss your individual case and treatment options.

The importance of cleaning your Invisalign aligners

Cleaning your Invisalign aligners is just as important as brushing your teeth after. Invisalign aligners are marketed as subtle straighteners. However, if you don’t keep them clean, they’ll get stained and lose their subtlety.

Aside from maintaining their invisibility, good Invisalign care helps to prevent bad breath. When you eat, food is bound to get stuck between the teeth and in spite of rinsing or brushing, some particles may remain there. When Invisalign retainers are worn again, the effect of saliva in slowly rinsing out these particles is reduced. This leads to the spreading of bacteria which in turn causes bad breath. In addition, regular cleaning helps to keep your teeth looking bright and your mouth smelling fresh.

Learning how to keep Invisalign retainers clean also helps to prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay may also be caused by food particles stuck between the aligners or teeth. Over time, the spread of bacteria will lead to tooth cavities, decay, or gingivitis.

Most importantly, avoiding gum disease is a great reason for keeping your Invisalign aligners clean. Gum disease develops when you let bacterial plaque stay in your mouth for long. When you clean your aligners and teeth, you keep bacteria at bay. Neglect can lead to uncomfortable and costly dental problems.

What to use to clean your Invisalign aligners

Below are the various components that you can use to clean your Invisalign braces and some simple ways to do it

Antibacterial soap and water

Using warm water and a small amount of antibacterial soap can help kill harmful bacteria. Rinse the aligners and soak them in the solution for 15 minutes. Brush them gently, and then rinse them in fresh water.

You can also consider soaking your Invisalign aligners in a cleaning solution to get rid of calcium build-up and foggy appearances once in a while.

Vinegar and water

Vinegar is another good way to disinfect your aligners. Mix white vinegar and water in the ratio of 1:3 and soak your Invisalign aligners for about 15 minutes. Afterwards, remove them from the solution, brush and then rinse in clean water. Don’t use red wine or malt vinegar as they can stain the aligners.

Hydrogen peroxide and water

Hydrogen peroxide is found in many types of mouthwash. It’s a strong antibacterial and antiseptic agent. While it’s not recommended to soak the Invisalign aligners in mouthwash because of staining, you can use active hydrogen peroxide with great success.

Baking soda and water

Baking soda is abrasive and has antibacterial properties. As such, it’s effective in removing plaque build-up in the hard-to-reach spots in the aligners. However, this is best avoided as abrasive properties lead to scratches on the aligners causing them to stain and discolour more easily.

Retainer cleaner

Soak your aligners in a retainer cleaner every day for about two hours.  Most come in powder or tablet form and are effective against plaque and bacteria. Some pricier versions are available in wipe format, although it is more difficult to clean aligners effectively with a wipe.

Invisalign cleaning crystals

Invisalign specialists can obtain cleaning crystals sachets for you. Rinse your aligners to remove any debris. You can also remove this using a toothbrush. Empty the packet of crystals into a cup of water and soak the aligners for 15minutes. Remove the aligners and rinse them under running water to remove any remaining crystals.

Cleansers to avoid

Some products can damage your Invisalign aligners and negate your treatment. Therefore, it’s often best to avoid using the following products for best results

Denture cleaners

Some denture cleansers can turn your clear Invisalign aligners yellow after prolonged use.

Alcoholic mouthwashes

Mouthwash might be great for cleaning your mouth but will damage your aligners. Given that mouthwashes have colouring dyes, they can stain clear aligners and ruin their invisibility.

Scented or dyed soaps

Avoid scented or dyed soaps since the colour used will stain your aligners easily and ruin their subtlety.

Dishwasher

Dishwashers operate with hot water, which can lead to damage or discolouration of your clear aligners. In addition, it can cause distortion and ruin their perfect fit.

Best practices for cleaning your Invisalign

Best practices for cleaning your Invisalign - Savina Dental Clinics Malta and Gozo

Create a hygiene routine

For your Invisalign aligners to work effectively, you have to keep them on at night. Unfortunately, when you are fast asleep, bacteria are usually busy gathering on your aligners and teeth. To get rid of the bacteria, create a morning cleaning routine for your aligners. See to it that you remove your aligners and brush them well every morning. Then, repeat this process before you go to bed to reduce bacteria build-up overnight.

Clean and rinse the aligners when you remove them

When you remove your aligners to eat or drink, rinse them before putting them back into your mouth. Rinsing helps to keep plaque and saliva build-up at a minimum.

Keep them in a case

When you don’t have your aligners on, ensure they are in a case and not a napkin. This will prevent accidental damage or even throwing them away. A case also protects the aligners from bacteria.

Brush and floss your teeth before putting the aligners back in

After meals, food particles will inevitably get stuck between the teeth. Wearing the trays without brushing your teeth will stop saliva from washing food particles away and lead to severe plaque and bacteria build-up. To avoid this, always make sure your teeth are clean before putting your Invisalign aligners on.

Remove your aligners before eating or drinking

Food and drinks can stain or damage your aligners and lead to bacteria build-up. The build-up develops into plaque and, when left unattended, hardens into tartar. At this stage, you’ll need professional help to clean the aligners.

Now that you know everything about Invisalign care, you can use the tips we have shared above to keep your aligners clean with ease. Remember, establishing a cleaning routine is a sure-fire way of maintaining top-notch oral hygiene.

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Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.