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Guide To A Clean Invisalign- The Do’s & Don’ts

January 23, 2023

Maintaining the cleanliness of your Invisalign aligners is essential for optimal oral health while in treatment. This article will guide you through how to keep your aligners hygienic and free from germs, bacteria, and plaque buildup. We'll also provide answers to some of the most common questions about cleaning Invisalign.

What Is An Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that utilizes clear, removable trays or “aligners” to gradually reposition teeth into their ideal alignment without traditional metal braces. Unlike metal braces, however, these Invisalign aligners must be removed for eating and brushing, and it’s important that they are kept clean to prevent bacteria buildup, which can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.

Steps For Cleaning Your Invisalign Aligners

Follow the steps below to clean your Invisalign aligners:

  1. Give A Quick Rinse

Remove your aligner and brush your teeth before rinsing off the aligner in cool water to remove any food particles or saliva residue.

  1. Use Hand Soap

Rinse off any visible food particles with a small amount of mild hand soap (avoid using dishwashing detergent or toothpaste as they can damage your aligner). Gently rub the inside and outside of your aligner with a soft-bristled toothbrush or cotton swab soaked in soapy water.

  1. Rinse Thoroughly

When you have finished cleaning, make sure you rinse away all traces of soap with cool water. Avoid using hot/warm water.

  1. Sanitize Daily & Keep It Safe

For additional protection against bacteria and plaque build-up, it’s recommended that you use an ultrasonic cleaner every night when you switch out your aligner for cleaning purposes. Soak it for 5 minutes in the cleaner filled with distilled water before rinsing it again with cool water. Return it to its case before retainer placement on the teeth for sleep.

Methods To Avoid When Cleaning Invisalign

There are two ways you should avoid cleaning your Invisalign aligners:

  1. Avoid brushing harder than necessary when cleaning Invisalign, as this could cause damage and compromise its ability to move teeth correctly.
  2. Additionally, avoid boiling or microwaving retainers and use dental tablets or effervescent products since they contain bleaching agents, which can discolor/damage Invisalign materials over time if used too often. Instead, use only mild hand soap & warm water plus an ultrasonic cleaner once daily when possible.

The Bottom Line

Keeping up on hygiene protocols is key when wearing any type of removable dental device like Invisalign - whether a support system throughout orthodontic treatment programs or simply something used strictly cosmetically afterward. Establish habit routines early, both during actual wearing periods & post-completion, so results last longer versus having issues later down the road due to poor maintenance.


Q: How often should I clean my Invisalign?

A: It's important that you clean your Invisalign after each meal and before putting it back on your teeth during treatment, meaning at least three times a day, if not more, depending on what type of foods you eat while wearing them (e.g., sticky sweets require more frequent removal/cleaning). Cleaning at least once per day is recommended by dentists - incorporating an ultrasonic cleaner helps ensure bacteria are eliminated from hard-to-reach corners in addition to a thorough scrubbing with the soapy toothbrush/cotton swab technique outlined above^*.

Q: Can I drink liquids while wearing my Invisalign?

A: Yes, but it's best to limit yourself to plain cold tap water. Hence, there aren't any sugary components potentially left behind on the surface, which may increase the risk of cavities over time if not cleaned away properly. Additionally, be sure not to hold onto any beverages containing alcohol too long since prolonged contact could cause staining that might take longer than expected to reverse post-treatment (if at all).

Q: Should I wear my retainer all night even after treatment has been completed?

A: Yes! Retainer wear typically varies from patient to patient depending upon the need/severity of misalignment, but generally speaking. Dentists suggest they continue being worn nightly indefinitely post-treatment, either full-time or eight hours per night, since this helps protect against relapsing back into their original position over time due to lack of muscle memory during sleep cycles.

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