Invisible aligners, like the ones that we use for Impressions, were designed to make your dental correction easier and more convenient. Cleaning your aligners, however, can be a bit of a pain, especially if you’re unsure how to do it properly. If you have purchased invisible aligners to correct your smile, you’ve made a big investment and we want to make sure you know how to keep them clean and clear!
Just like brushing and flossing your teeth, cleaning your aligners is essential to maintaining the health of your mouth. Depending on your diet, you’ll want to make sure that you are cleaning your aligners regularly to keep them clear. Without the proper cleaning regimen, your aligners may become cloudy from food and plaque residue.
You may think that fancy accessories are necessary to keep your aligners clean, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! There are plenty of household items that are proficient at cleaning aligners and totally affordable.
Here are 6 ways to clean your invisible aligners:
- Clean aligners with gentle soap instead of toothpaste.
- Soak aligners in baking soda mixture.
- Soak aligners in vinegar and water mixture.
- Soak aligners in hydrogen peroxide and water mixture.
- Soak aligners in clear retainer cleaner solution.
- Use cleaning crystals to remove plaque from your invisible aligners.
(Please note: These tips suggest using warm water when cleaning your aligners, but you should never clean with hot water.)
1) Gentle Soap
Who doesn’t have a little soap lying around their house? (Hopefully the answer is yes!) Soap is great for keeping your hands clean, but did you know it can also clean your aligners?
Add a small amount (about one pump’s worth) of gentle, antibacterial soap to warm water. Mix it up until the soap has dissolved into the water and bubbles appear at the top. Soak your aligners into the soapy mixture for 20-30 minutes, remembering to rinse them thoroughly with cool water before popping them back in your mouth.
2) Baking Soda
Baking soda has always been favored for its deodorizing qualities, and recent years have seen creative individuals using it to clean things around the house, including aligners.
Add a tablespoon of baking soda to ½ cup warm water, mixing well. If you need to scale up the amount of water, remember to keep this ratio consistent. Soak your aligners into this mixture for 30 minutes.
Vinegar is known for its incredible variability and multiple uses, which is very true of this miracle product. Besides being good for your home appliances and the health of your garden, vinegar can also efficiently clean your aligners.
Using the white, add one part vinegar to three parts warm water. Mix the vinegar into the water until it’s evenly distributed. Soak your aligners into vinegar solution for 20-30 minutes.
The same properties in hydrogen peroxide that make it a good disinfectant also make it good for cleaning your aligners.
Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide to warm water, stirring completely. Add invisible aligners to the mixture and allow them to soak for 30 minutes before removing them and rinsing them with cool water.
5) Retainer Cleaner
Retainer cleaner is a convenient option for easy cleaning that is available to order online. Retainer Brite cleaning tablets are a great option.
Add a single tablet to a cup of warm water, dissolving it into the water thoroughly. After stirring, soak invisible aligners into the solution for 15-20 minutes before rinsing.
6) Cleaning Crystals
Cleaning crystals were specially designed by Invisalign to remove plaque, keeping aligners clean, hygienic and odor-free. Though more expensive than all the other options一a pack of 50 cleaning crystals costs $50一crystals are a reliable way to keep your aligners clean.
Dissolve a single pack into a cup of warm water, stirring until the crystals and water have formed a solution. Soak aligners into the solution for 15 minutes before rinsing them in cool water thoroughly.
Remember to always use warm water to make a soaking solution–anything too hot may warp the shape of your aligners and cost you big bucks to fix. If you’re unsure whether or not the temperature of your water is suitable, stick the tip of your finger in to test it.
After you’ve soaked your aligners, rinse them thoroughly with cool water to wash away any leftover solution. Getting a mouthful of watered down hydrogen peroxide isn’t going to taste very good!
It’s best to only wear your aligners when your teeth are clean and free of food. Do what you can to brush and floss your teeth before inserting your aligners. Be prepared by packing yourself a travel cleaning kit including a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash that you can bring with you everywhere. This will keep both your teeth and your aligners healthy and free of bad odors or problematic germs.
While it’s good to give your aligners a thorough clean every week or so, on occasion you can use mouthwash to kill a bit of bacteria and give your aligners a fresh taste. Dilute mouthwash with warm water and soak aligners briefly for a quick rinse.
Invisible aligners offer so much一they are a reliable and effective way to correct orthodontic issues without having to sacrifice your confidence or quality of life. It’s up to you as the patient to keep your aligners clean and hygienic so that they stay invisible throughout the duration of your treatment. You want to finish your smile journey with teeth that are straighter, whiter and healthier than ever before.
If you are interested in learning more about aligners, contact us to set up an appointment. Impressions is the at-home aligner treatment option for those who need mild to moderate correction at a fraction of the cost of Invisalign. Find out if you’re a candidate today!