Are you among the 51% of Americans who hate the way their teeth look? Many people are self-conscious about crooked teeth or gaps between their teeth.

You’re not alone! With clear aligners, you can straighten your smile and improve your oral health. Before beginning treatment, however, you need to know how to clean aligners.

Otherwise, your aligners may get damaged or discolored. Read on for our clear aligner hygiene tips today!

Why Maintaining Clear Aligners Matters

Cleaning dental aligners can seem time-consuming on top of your existing oral hygiene routine. However, not maintaining clear aligners can compromise your oral health.

After meals, saliva, food particles, and bacteria can mix together. Plaque, the tacky clear substance on your teeth, can form. If you don’t brush plaque away, it can harden into tartar.

Tartar can release acid before damaging your protective tooth enamel. Enamel protects your teeth from cavities. Otherwise, holes can form in your teeth.

Brushing and flossing your teeth keeps plaque from forming. Unfortunately, food particles and plaque can get stuck on your aligners. If you don’t brush the plaque away, it can compromise your oral health.

Bad oral hygiene can cause your teeth to appear discolored. You may develop bad breath, too.

Learning how to clean your clear aligners will keep bacteria and plaque at bay. You can reduce your risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis. 

Otherwise, these problems can compromise your overall health. Cavities can lead to a tooth abscess or infection.

Gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body. Your risk of serious conditions like stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease will rise.

To maintain good oral and overall health, prioritize cleaning dental aligners. Otherwise, these complications will delay your orthodontic treatment plan. 

Your Aligner Maintenance Guide

During your orthodontic treatment, you’ll receive a new pair of aligners every one or two weeks. The average number of aligners for patients is 64.1. Treatment usually lasts 22.8 months.

Your orthodontist will customize your treatment plan based on your needs and goals. They can give you a more accurate timeline. 

Failing to follow these tips could disrupt your treatment plan. You may need to wear your aligners longer than expected.

Before you begin orthodontic treatment, sit down with your orthodontist in Rochester, NY. They’ll walk you through their dentist-approved aligner cleaning process.

Remove Trays Before Eating

Always remove your aligners before meals. Eating with your aligners in place could damage them. Food particles could get trapped between the aligners and your teeth. 

Drinking while wearing them can cause discoloration. Remove your aligners if you plan to drink anything besides water. Avoid drinking extremely hot or cold water, which can warp the plastic. 

One of the benefits of wearing clear aligners is discretion. Usually, no one will realize you’re wearing your aligners. Discoloration, however, could make the aligners more obvious. 

If the plastic becomes warped, your aligners won’t fit properly. This can delay your treatment plan.

Instead, remove the aligners before eating or drinking. Always put your aligners in their case.

Do not put the aligners on a napkin during meals. You may accidentally toss the aligners in the trash. Waiting to receive a replacement pair could delay your treatment further. 

Putting them in their case will protect them from damage. It can also minimize the spread of bacteria. 

Brush and Floss Your Teeth

Brush and floss your teeth after meals, before putting your aligners on. You may have food particles or bacteria on and between your teeth. Remember, plaque could form if you don’t brush and floss.

After meals, drink water to rinse out your mouth and food particles. Then, brush and floss.

If you’re at work or out for a meal with friends, consider using a disposable mini toothbrush (like Colgate Wisp). The bristles can remove food particles and bacteria before you put your aligners back in place.

Make sure to put your aligners back in. Neglecting to wear them for 20 to 22 hours a day could delay your treatment. 

Cleaning Dental Aligners

After removing your aligners, rinse them under lukewarm water. Remember, hot or cold water could warm the plastic. Rinsing them will remove bacteria.

Don’t use soap when cleaning your aligners. This could discolor the plastic. You may also taste remnants of the soap when you put your aligners on.

Instead, clean your aligners using a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush away bacteria and food particles. Soak your aligners in a solution of crystals that contain cleansing agents like sodium sulfate. After soaking them for three minutes, rinse the solution off using lukewarm water. 

Soaking your aligners can disinfect them from Strep, Candida, E. coli, and Staph. 

Make It Routine

Make cleaning your aligners a habit. Neglecting to clean them on a routine basis will give bacteria time to spread. 

Clean your aligners on a nightly basis after brushing and flossing your teeth. This will remove bacteria and food debris that’s accumulated throughout the day.

You should also clean your aligners if they appear dirty. Otherwise, the discoloration could get worse.

Avoid Rookie Mistakes

Some cleaning solutions are too harsh for your aligners. These include:

  • Mouthwash
  • Denture cleaners
  • Toothpaste
  • Scented soups

Avoid using any products that contain dyes. They could stain your aligners.

To avoid making additional mistakes, talk to your orthodontist. They can provide expert advice to ensure you’re taking care of your aligners.

You may need to visit your orthodontist a few times during your treatment plan. Use these appointments to ask questions. Rely on their expertise to take better care of your aligners. 

Learn How to Clean Aligners

Learning how to clean aligners is key to ensuring a timely, effective treatment plan. Use these dentist-approved aligner cleaning tips. Otherwise, schedule a consultation appointment to make sure you’re using the right techniques. 

Ready to discover your brightest, most beautiful smile? Our top-notch professionals at Rivoli Orthodontists are here to help! We’re committed to providing exceptional care and healthy smiles.

Rely on our state-of-the-art technology, variety of treatment options, and personalized plans. Contact us today to schedule your consultation appointment!