We compare the different ways to clean your aligners
Keeping your aligners clean, hygienic and free from stains will prolong their life and keep you safe. There are many different ways to clean your aligners. Which is the best?
Ways to Keep Your Aligners Clean
Rinsing with Water
Some providers of clear aligners will just suggest that you rinse them with water. This may be enough, as you’ll only wear each set of aligners for two weeks.
Rinsing with water isn’t the best way to clean your aligners, but as long as you take care of them properly it might be all that they need.
Cleaning with Soap
Some clear aligner companies will recommend cleaning them with soap. You can use any everyday soap to clean your aligners more effectively than just with water.
Cleaning with soap is a cheap and easy way to keep aligners clean and free from bacteria and germs. Just remember to rinse them properly, so this method doesn’t leave a bad taste.
Brushing with Toothpaste
Another quick and easy way to clean your aligners is to brush them with toothpaste. This is another option some providers recommend, but isn’t the ideal choice.
Brushing with toothpaste is effective, maintaining your aligners just as well as the teeth that you wear them on. However, toothpaste can be abrasive and might scratch or stain your clear aligners. This can leave them with a white, foggy look that will make them less discreet and more scruffy.
Aligner, Retainer and Denture Cleaning Tablets
Aligner, retainer and denture cleaning tablets are all essentially the same. Sold under different names to reach different audiences, these cleaning tablets are usually cheapest if you find a low-priced tube of denture tablets at your local supermarket.
Cleaning tablets like Retainer Brite are very effective. They’ll help to make sure your aligners stay clear but are also effective at removing any invisible bacteria. Tablets are a great way to keep your aligners at their best. You could spend a lot on some aligner cleaning tablets, but results may vary from one brand to another. If you can, check cleaning tablet reviews before you choose a brand to use.
Aligner, Retainer and Denture Cleaning Crystals
In some cases, aligner cleaning products come in the form of cleaning crystals. These aren’t really any different to tablets. Mix these with water to create a cleaning liquid that you’ll submerge your aligners in. Crystals are less common, so it’s usually easier just to find a pack of cleaning tablets.
Cleaning with Household Products
If you can’t get aligner or denture cleaning tablets, some household products will do a similar job. You can dissolve baking soda in water, or soak your aligners in a mixture of vinegar and water.
Household products won’t be as effective as proper aligner cleaning tablets, but do a better job than water alone and will help keep your aligners stain-free.
A sonic cleaner for aligners can make the cleaning process more effective. It’ll need to be used with cleaning tablets or crystals, and won’t do a thing on its own.
A sonic cleaner is a small vibrating case that you’ll put your aligners inside. Add the cleaning liquid, then switch the sonic cleaner on. The sonic cleaner quicky vibrates to mix up the water and gently shake the aligners. Movements help to break down any coating on the aligners, whilst ensuring that the cleaning solution reaches every part of the plastic. A sonic cleaner isn’t essential, as tablets do enough on their own, but it’s nice to have if you’ve got the extra cash to make sure that the job is done properly.
Investing in a sonic cleaner might pay off long term. It’s not just for clear aligners, but can also be used after treatment once you’re using retainers. Whilst aligners only need to last two weeks, retainers can be used for six months. This means that retainers need even more care, and the most effective cleaning possible.
Aligner Cleaning Toothbrush
Some providers of clear aligners recommend a small toothbrush head. These can be specifically designed to reach every part of your clear aligners. Over in the US, one of the leading providers of clear aligners even makes an aligner cleaning toothbrush. Smile Direct Club stocks this product for delivery to US addresses. Here in the UK, it isn’t available, though any electric toothbrush with an interdental toothbrush head should fit into all the gaps effectively.
You can do a thorough job with an electric or manual toothbrush, but an interdental toothbrush head may make it easier to make sure that every part is covered.
How to Clean Your Clear Aligners
Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you should rinse your clear aligners after every meal or drink. Remove your aligners when you’re eating and drinking, then rinse them before you reinsert them. At the same time, you should brush your teeth so your aligners don’t trap food and drink.
At least once a day, clean your aligners more thoroughly. Using cleaning tablets can take up to half an hour, so it’s best to do this during a mealtime. This means that your aligners don’t spend too long out of your mouth, which increases the chance of your treatment being quick and effective. If you’re using soap or brushing your aligners, this is best done just before bed as you’ll need to be actively involved.
Getting the Correct Water Temperature
It’s best to clean aligners with lukewarm water, but make sure that the water’s not too hot. Warm water can melt or warp your aligners, which will mean that they don’t work as they should. Always make sure that the water you use is just a little warm, and doesn’t get warm enough to potentially misshape your aligners.
Best Way to Clean Your Aligners
There are many effective ways to clean clear aligners, and most will be perfectly suitable. Clear aligners don’t need to be used for long, so even just rinsing in plain water could be enough for two weeks.
If you want to make sure that you’re cleaning aligners in the best possible way, it’s well worth investing in denture cleaning tablets where they can be found at low prices. Denture cleaning tablets are designed for the job of keeping dental items bacteria-free, and they’re non-abrasive so won’t leave marks or scratches on your clear aligners.
If you can afford a sonic cleaner, it’s a great addition to your toolkit. If not, don’t worry – you don’t need a sonic cleaner to clean your aligners effectively.