Hacks to Keep Clear Aligners Clean

Apr 02, 2024
Hacks to Keep Clear Aligners Clean
Clear aligners have distinct benefits over traditional braces like not having to deal with messy wax to protect your cheeks. But clear aligners also come with some responsibilities, like keeping them clean. Read on.

Not too long ago, getting orthodontics treatment was all about braces and getting a mouth full of metal archwires, ligatures, and brackets. Today, orthodontists offer their patients a plethora of treatment options to help them capture their dream smile. 

A game-changer in orthodontics is clear aligners. With the advent of clear aligners, both youth and adults can undergo treatment discreetly, without the downsides of eliminating certain foods and dealing with messy waxes to protect your mouth from those pesky wires.

Comfort and convenience don’t mean there aren’t some responsibilities, though. In this blog, Dr. Jean Seibold McGill at McGill Orthodontics in Easton and Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, shares her advice on how to seamlessly incorporate ways to keep your clear aligners clean.

Clear aligners: Clearly different

Like traditional braces, clear aligners are an orthodontic treatment option that gently shifts your teeth and the underlying tissue into new, optimal positions over time. Both braces and clear aligners address issues like crowding and teeth alignment problems such as overbites, underbites, and crossbites, but that’s where the similarities end. 

With a clear aligner system, Dr. McGill uses a series of virtually invisible custom-made clear aligner trays that fit over your teeth and are removable. You switch to a new series of aligner trays every two weeks or so according to your treatment plan. Periodically, you’ll visit our office to track your progress. 

Your responsibilities are important but minimal — wear your aligner trays except when eating or drinking, or about 22 hours a day, and keep both your teeth and aligners clean. At McGill Orthodontics, we offer our patients two industry-leading clear aligner systems — Invisalign® and the Spark™ clear aligner system.

Clear aligners cleaning and care

Cleaning and caring for your clear aligners isn’t just about keeping them hygienic and stain-free. Think effectiveness, comfort, durability, and aesthetics.

Avoid tobacco products

A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that can stain your aligners. Abstain from smoking or using tobacco products as much as possible during treatment. Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco can stain or discolor. At the very least, remove your clear aligners before smoking and brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in your mouth.

Rinse, refresh, and hydrate

One of the biggest advantages of clear aligners in orthodontics is that you can remove them when eating or drinking. The one notable exception is water. It’s no secret that drinking lots of water throughout the day has many benefits and that also applies to your clear aligners. 

Drinking water with your aligners in your mouth will keep your aligners clean and fresh throughout the day. 

Brush your teeth and your aligners

Keeping your teeth clean to fight against decay and plaque buildup is always part of proper oral hygiene. But when you wear clear aligners, keeping your teeth clean isn’t just about preventing cavities and gum disease but it’s also about buildup or food debris that can prevent your aligners from fitting correctly, which may interfere with your treatment plan. 

Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. While you’re brushing your teeth, rinse your aligners. After your teeth are clean and fresh, move on to cleaning your aligners. 

Don’t clean your aligners with your regular toothbrush or toothpaste, as they may be too abrasive and can damage your aligner trays. Instead, use a softer toothbrush and gentle soap or a special cleaning solution made just for clear aligners. 

Gently brush and rinse with room temperature or warm water. Although you may think hot water would be better, resist the temptation as hot water, like harsh cleaning solutions, can damage your aligners.

Store your aligners properly

Surprisingly, the removability aspect of clear aligners may also lead to one of the common pitfalls of keeping your clear aligners clean. Do yourself a favor and at the start of your aligner treatment process purchase two storage cases for your aligner trays — one for home and one to keep with you.

Since you’re buttoning up your hygiene and aligner care habits, the last thing you want to do is take them out to eat or drink and place them on a dirty desk or, worse yet, throw them in your backpack or purse. Not only does that open you up to all kinds of germs and bacteria, but it can damage your aligners or increase the likelihood of losing them.

If you’re ready to get that smile you’ve always dreamed of and want to learn more about clear aligners, contact McGill Orthodontics to schedule a free orthodontic consultation. Call our office most convenient to you, or request your appointment online today.