Clean and Brighten Your Clear Retainers and Aligners


Clear retainers and aligners are vital for straightening or keeping your smile straight after orthodontic treatment. Wearing these transparent devices can prevent your teeth from shifting and maintain your smile’s health and appearance. Clear retainers and aligners need special care when they are not in your mouth, protecting your smile. Here are some tips for keeping things bright and beautiful.

Everything that is in your mouth affects your transparent aligners. Tartar and plaque can accumulate on retainers and trays, as it does on your teeth. Bacteria can also coat the aligner, resulting in health concerns or a bad odor. Cleaning your clear trays every day is recommended to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the surfaces. Doing this will keep your retainer bright, clean, safe for use, and prolong its lifespan. You should always follow the instructions for cleaning and caring for your specific devices, but we also have some general tips for transparent retainer and aligner care.

Keep Retainers and Aligners Wet

Clear retainers should stay wet, always. If they are allowed to dry, contaminants will adhere to the surface and reduce the device’s lifespan. Your retainer should go directly from your mouth to a cleaning solution, rinsing, or a wet storage container. You can rinse your retainer in cold or warm water, but this will not remove contaminants. Avoid rinsing in hot water as it can damage or warp the aligner. A soaking solution of water with baking soda is an effective and safe disinfectant; another is hydrogen peroxide.

Clean Your Clear Retainers and Aligners

You can keep transparent, plastic oral appliances, clean, disinfected, and odor-free by cleaning them daily. When you remove the device, rinse it under water, and use a soft toothbrush to scrub inside and out. Do not use toothpaste on your retainer as it contains abrasives that will scratch and dull the surface.  You can make your own cleaning paste with baking soda and water or soak and brush them with hydrogen peroxide.

There are several commercially available choices for cleaning clear retainers; for example, Invisalign has a kit and cleaning system that contains a soaking container and crystals that will remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your retainer. There are also ultrasonic cleaners for aligners and retainers. If you are interested in one of these options, ask your dentist or orthodontist to recommend a safe product that you can use at home.

Household Solutions That Work

You can also clean your transparent aligner using common household items.  Use a baking soda, vinegar, and water solution at least once a week to soak trays for 15-20 minutes to remove buildup or bacteria. Thoroughly rinse your retainer after washing, then place in your mouth or a storage container. Achieve the same great results by soaking the trays and retainers in hydrogen peroxide.

Taking proper care of your clear retainers and aligner trays can keep them safe for use and extend their lifespan. If you have any questions about caring and maintenance, contact us at Nishan Halim DMD. We are located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, DC, and we offer Invisalign treatment and products for our patients.

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