Invisalign are orthodontic aligners that are great for patients who want to avoid the distracting look of braces. Because they’re removable, Invisalign trays require regular cleaning to keep them looking and feeling fresh.
Keeping your Invisalign trays clean will keep your smile looking brighter for longer. Regular cleaning cuts down on bad smells and discoloration, which are caused by the bacteria in your mouth and leftover food particles.
Let’s go over which cleaning products to use, which to avoid, and how to clean your Invisalign.
What Not to Use
Your Invisalign trays are very delicate, so it’s important to know what not to use when cleaning them. Do not soak, rinse, or scrub your Invisalign trays using any of the following:
- Mouthwash that contains alcohol or artificial colors
- Toothpaste with a medium- or hard-bristle toothbrush. Brushing can be too abrasive and cause scratching.
- Scented soaps or cleaners. The plastic may absorb the scent.
- Hot water. It’s best to use lukewarm; too hot and you may warp the plastic.
- Bleach. Some recommend using a diluted bleach solution, but this may be too harsh for the plastic. Plus, bleach is incredibly dangerous if accidentally ingested.
Some of these products can erode or warp the Invisalign tray’s plastic. Others can leave behind an unsightly hue or leave scratches, which can lead to a cloudy, dull appearance. If you’re unsure if something is safe to use, don’t use it.
What to Use
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s list a few safe and effective cleaning products. You can use:
- Cold or lukewarm water
- Antibacterial soap
- Denture cleaner. Note that some denture cleaners may cause your trays to appear cloudy; this does not harm their effectiveness or comfort.
- Retainer cleaner
- Hydrogen peroxide. Use in a half-and-half solution with water.
- Vinegar. Use in a half-and-half solution with water.
- Baking soda. Use one tablespoon dissolved in half a cup of water for a soak or a third of a cup to make a paste.
- Cleaning crystals. You can purchase dissolvable crystals specifically made to clean Invisalign.
- A soft-bristle toothbrush or soft cloth
Whatever you use, it’s important to thoroughly rinse your Invisalign trays before putting them back in your mouth. Do NOT put your Invisalign trays back in your mouth if they still have cleaner on them.
Every time you remove your Invisalign, you should make it a habit to thoroughly rinse each tray with water.
Rinsing washes away your saliva from the trays. If saliva is left to dry, it can lead to a build-up of plaque and bacteria. This build-up can be the source of bad smells and discoloration.
You should also rinse your mouth before replacing trays if you can’t brush before putting them back in. This helps avoid trapping food particles in between your teeth and the plastic – another cause of smells and discoloration.
We recommend soaking your trays for 20-30 minutes a day. Routinely soaking your trays is the most effective way of keeping them clean and free of stains. It’s easiest to do a soak during mealtimes.
Simply put your trays in a bowl and fill it with a cleaning solution of your choice. You can make a homemade half-and-half mix of water with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or baking soda, or use denture cleaner or dissolving crystals. Make sure your trays are completely submerged.
Once they’re done soaking, rinse them under running water for a few seconds to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
You might find that soaking isn’t enough to remove occasional food particles that collect on the plastic trays. In that case, try using a soft-bristle toothbrush or clean cloth to gently brush away any sediment. You can use just water or include some antibacterial soap or baking soda.
It’s also important to brush your teeth (or at least thoroughly rinse your mouth) after eating and before putting your Invisalign trays back in.
Over time, you may notice your trays starting to look yellowish. They may also have a blue or green tinge if you’ve used colored mouthwash or cleaners to soak them.
To remove stains, try soaking your trays in a half-and-half solution of warm water with either vinegar or hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. You could also try soaking them in dissolvable crystal kits designed specifically for Invisalign.
Depending on how much your trays are stained, you may need to do soaks like these for several days in a row to see an improvement. If you’re concerned about stubborn stains that don’t seem to come out no matter what you try, ask your dentist for other options.
A Daily Step-by-Step
Let’s go over an example of what a typical day might look like with your Invisalign.
Step 1 – Before Breakfast. Remove your trays before you eat breakfast and rinse them under lukewarm water. You may choose to let them soak in denture cleaner, a half-and-half solution of vinegar and warm water, or another cleaning solution while you eat.
Step 2 – After Breakfast. After eating, brush your teeth thoroughly for 2 minutes. If your Invisalign trays have been soaking, rinse them off in clean water and put them back in.
Step 3 – Lunch. Remove your trays and rinse them before eating. After eating, swish your mouth with clean water or mouthwash to remove leftover food particles. Put your Invisalign back in.
Step 4 – Dinner. Remove and rinse your trays. If you didn’t soak them at breakfast, now is the time to do so. After eating, brush and floss thoroughly before putting your Invisalign back in.
Step 5 – Midnight Snack. Remove and rinse before eating. Before replacing your trays, brush and floss your teeth again to remove food particles. No matter when or what you eat, don’t skip this rinsing process!
Still have questions? Contact us!
If you have any questions about how to clean Invisalign trays, Muscaro & Martini Dentistry is happy to help! We’re happy to advise you on the care and maintenance of your Invisalign – and even schedule you for an appointment if you need a replacement.
Just click here to contact us or call us at (813) 547-5199.