When people get Invisalign or clear aligners, they often don’t realise quite how easily the trays can get stained. Even if you take your Invisalign trays out to eat and drink every single time – there is a fair chance you might end up with yellow aligners.
Most dentists and orthodontists recommend that Invisalign is worn for at least 22 hours per day. This doesn’t leave much time to be Invisalign free. Most of the time that the aligners are out of the mouth you will be eating or drinking.
Note: Be careful when eating or drinking when you have Invisalign. Sometimes Invisalign will hurt for a while. Find out the Invisalign stops hurting in this guide.
Some of these actions will result in a stained set of trays.
Why Are My Trays Stained If I Take Them Out To Eat?
I often see patients with stained Invisalign despite doping pretty much everything right. For most of them it boils down to two things.
- They forget even briefly and have soda or coffee or tea while wearing the tray.
- Or they take the trays out completely (woohoo) but then the stain sticks within the saliva. They put the trays back in but end up with stain.
Some of my patients get pretty frustrated as they diligently stick to the program and rinse or even brush after every meal. Stains can stick around in our saliva even after a good brushing.
The tongue in particular traps a lot of stain causing bacteria and tannins and other stain causing compounds from what we eat and drink.
Is It Ok To Be Cleaning My Invisalign With Vinegar?
While nothing beats water and some plain no coloured soap. And Invisalign recommend cleaning crystals like these. Vinegar is a simple at-home solution to help remove stain on Invisalign trays.
Remember Invisalign works really well, and the results can last forever if done right (with retention).
Steps To Clean Invisalign With Vinegar
- Get White Vinegar (not apple cider)
- Mix an equal amount of the two liquids in a cup.
- You will need about a mug full in total
- Use warm water
- Use a cup larger enough to fit both trays
- Seek the Invisalign aligner trays in the solution for 30 minutes
- After timing 30 minutes, use a soft toothbrush to polish the trays further
- Rinse very thoroughly with water
The vinegar and water mixture is an easy natural way to clean your Invisalign aligners at home, without any crystals.
The vinegar mixture will have some positive effect on killing the undesirable germs and bacteria that can stick to trays. As well as improving the staining this can also improve bad breath! Bad breath has lots of different causes but bacteria are the most common mouth related issue.
Be careful to rinse very well the trays after the vinegar soak. Vinegar will cause no harm but the taste and smell can linger. You might smell like a packet of salt and vinegar crisps if you are not careful!
Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Clean My Invisalign?
No. Although apple cider vinegar (ACV) will not harm your Invisalign, it is not suitable for cleaning your Invisalign. There is a likelihood it will cause problematic stain.
You Invisalign can actually end up yellower than before you cleaned them! This is obviously no desirable, so avoid using apple cider vinegar mouth rinse to clean your Invisalign.
What Other Things Can I Use to Clean My Invisalign
- Invisalign recommend their own cleaning crystals. You can pick them up on Amazon really easily.
- Hydrogen Peroxide is recommended by some orthodontists to kill bacteria and keep the tray healthy
- Vinegar (follow the recipe above) can be used to clean Invisalign trays and remove stain
- Baking soda and water mix
- Hand or dish soap! (no colours)
Other Tips To Prevent Tray Staining
To prevent Invisalign trays from being stained, always remove them to eat or drink.
Pick milk coffee or white tea over the mild free alternatives. Drink lighter colour sodas (if you absolutely must have soda, this dentist encourages you not to while you have Invisalign trays to limit damage risk)