I am a little neurotic when it comes to germs in all areas of my life. I sanitize my house, my office, my phone, you name it. I just started doing Invisalign last week. And I can hardly stand thinking about that fact that the trays could be cleaner. I brush regularly and I use toothpaste to clean my trays after each meal, as well as morning and night. But, I feel like there could be some bacteria that is growing that isn’t addressed by brushing. I literally think about it all the time and am convinced my breath is smelly now too. So, I have to wonder if it’s due to the Invisalign aligners? I’m seriously considering running the aligners through the dishwasher. Is that going to ruin them? Please let me know if there is anything else I can do? I need to put my mind at ease.
-Janie in Washington
No, do not put your Invisalign aligners in the dishwasher. The water gets way too hot and it is possible they will not retain their shape, melt or distort them. Even if you are able to control the heat setting, dishwashers are extremely powerful appliances and there is too much of a risk for them to become damaged.
Did your dentist provide you with cleaning instructions when you received them? There are special cleaning kits made by Invisalign. Call your dentist to learn more about this option. Or you can create your own formula to clean the aligners more effectively, by mixing a formula of half white vinegar with half water. If you soaked them once a week for 30-40 minutes, that will help sanitize them. Remember, Invisalign trays are only used for two weeks at a time before it’s time to use the new trays. Sometimes trays are used for longer than the two week time frame. But if after talking with your dentist, they will only be required for two weeks, it is possible to use a full mixture of vinegar. This method will not discolor or damage the aligners, while killing any bacteria that you are concerned about.
It’s good to hear that you are already brushing them regularly. But feel free to discus the bad breath and your hygiene concerns with your dentist directly. He or she may have some more personalized instructions to help put your mind at ease.
So, to reiterate, do not put your aligners in the dishwasher. Another helpful tip is to avoid sugar because it actively feeds bacteria growth. Tooth decay is a risk if sugar becomes trapped between your teeth and the aligners. But it sounds like you are doing a good job of removing them and brushing after meals.
Thank you for your question.
This post is sponsored by York PA dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD