From a severe overbite and misaligned front teeth to the painful condition of TMJ, braces and other orthodontic treatments can repair problems with your smile and underlying bite. But while traditional metal braces are a common treatment, the tightening of wires can be uncomfortable. In addition, metal braces are easily noticed, decreasing the look of your smile and your self-esteem. Thankfully, clear plastic aligners are available to repair your smile. Although pricing ranges from $3,000 to $6,000, orthodontic aligners are a worthwhile investment. Of course, proper care is essential to protect this investment in your smile, look, and self-confidence. Using this guide, you can care for your new orthodontic aligners in a safe, non-toxic manner.

Removal Tips

Unlike traditional braces, you can remove your aligners when eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth. However, proper precaution is necessary to ensure food and bacteria do not build up on your aligners, increasing your risk of severe stains and possible illness.

Wash your hands before removing the aligners from your mouth. If you are traveling or steadily on the go, place antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer in your vehicle, pack, or handbag to clean your hands before removing your aligners. It is also helpful to add one of the cleaning solutions to a small, lidded container to use while away from home.

Also, remove dry saliva and food particles by rinsing the aligners under the sink faucet using warm water. After rinsing, soak your aligners to prevent staining and kill any bacteria that may be present.

Baking Soda Soak

Add 1 cup of warm water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda to a container and stir. Place your aligners in the container and cover with a lid. Allow them to soak for 20 or 30 minutes. After soaking, rinse the aligners with warm water. Again, be sure your hands are clean before making contact.

The baking soda is an effective cleanser due to its carbonation and deodorizing properties, but it is also gentle enough on use on your plastic aligners.

Hydrogen Peroxide Scrub

Considering your mouth may play host to an estimated 34 to 72 different varieties of bacteria, using an antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaner is smart. Unfortunately, many antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaning solutions can damage the fragile plastic of your orthodontic aligners. In addition, constant use of these toxic cleaners can cause irritations and respiratory problems.

To kill harmful bacteria while removing food and discoloration from your clear aligners, consider hydrogen peroxide. In a glass, combine the following:

  • ½ cup of warm water
  • ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide

Rinse your aligners and your soft-bristled toothbrush. Soak the toothbrush in the hydrogen peroxide solution for a few minutes before using to scrub your aligners. Use gentle, circular motions when brushing. Do not apply pressure, since excess force may damage the plastic. Be sure to rinse the excess solution off the aligners using warm water before placing back into your mouth.

Vinegar Soak

If you prefer to soak your orthodontic aligners in an antibacterial cleaning solution, opt for white vinegar. Vinegar contains 5 percent acetic acids, which are naturally antibacterial and antiviral. This ensures your aligners are not only clean, but also free of harmful bacteria and viruses.

In a glass, add ½ cup of warm water and ½ cup of white vinegar. Use a spoon to mix before rinsing your aligners off with warm water. Place the aligners into the vinegar solution and allow to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove your aligners from the glass and rinse them under your sink faucet before placing back onto your teeth.

Utilizing orthodontic aligners to repair your smile or bite misalignment may be a large expense, but proper care ensures you are making a worthwhile investment. Using these tips, you can clean and maintain your orthodontics in a safe, non-toxic manner.