How to clean and take care of your clear aligners
Straight teeth don’t just look good – they make chewing and cleaning easier, while also boosting your self-esteem. For many people, however, orthodontic treatment needs to fit in with their lifestyle and not the other way around.
Clear aligners, like Invisalign™, are designed to gently and effectively straighten your teeth, without the need for brackets and wires as with braces. The best part? They’re removable and almost invisible, making them an effective treatment for a whole host of dental issues – from gappy or crowded teeth to overbites, underbites and open bites.
The information below explores whether you can still eat or drink coffee with clear aligners (hint, remove them first!), as well as the best ways to clean your aligners. Avoiding bacterial build-up will ensure that your aligners stay in tip-top condition.
Because they’re simple and easy to remove, clear aligners like Invisalign™ should be taken out and placed in their case before you eat. This will prevent any food from getting stuck in the aligner trays. And because aligners can be removed (unlike braces), most snacks and foods can still be eaten safely. We recommend brushing your teeth and rinsing your clear aligners before popping them back in.
As with eating, it’s best to remove your trays before your drink – especially for heated beverages such as coffee. Hot liquids can warp the plastic of your clear aligners, impacting their fit and reducing their ability to effectively straighten your teeth. The pigment in coffee can also stain the clear plastic, making them more visible to the naked eye. Please note that drinking any liquids other than cold or room temperature water (e.g. fruit juice, sports drinks etc) without removing your clear aligners will trap the sugar and acid against your teeth, eventually damaging your tooth enamel and greatly increase your chances of tooth decay and cavities. If you don’t like removing your aligners frequently, our advice is to stick to water if possible when thirsty!
There are a number of straightforward ways to clean your clear aligners, from simple home remedies to specific cleaners. These include:
- Antibacterial soap. A gentle antibacterial soap or dishwashing liquid will prevent bacteria from building up. You can use a spare toothbrush to brush your aligners and create the suds! Just remember to rinse your clear aligners thoroughly again with lukewarm water after cleaning.
- Denture cleaning tablets. These are available at most pharmacies. Follow the instructions on the packet.
- Lukewarm water. Getting into the habit of rinsing your aligner trays under lukewarm water whenever you remove them is a simple way to prevent plaque from building up. At the very least, rinse them twice a day when you brush your teeth.
It’s best to clean your aligner trays twice a day when you brush your teeth. Rinsing your clear aligners regularly throughout the day under lukewarm water will also help keep them clean and odour-free.
Think your teeth could use straightening with clear aligners? Click here to search for an orthodontist near you now.