You’ve been wearing your aligners for a few days when you realize you’re starting to feel… self-conscious. Keeping your distance in conversation. Trying that thing where you breathe into your palm quickly to see if anything’s getting funky. Does your breath smell?
Unfortunately, bad breath is something that can creep up on even the most diligent of aligner wearers. Keeping your aligners clean is important, not only for the sake of your personal and professional relationships, but also for your dental hygiene. You should always brush your teeth before putting your aligners in and never, ever eat while wearing them.
Want to take your cleanliness to the next level?
Squeeze a bit of gentle liquid soap into a cup of warm water and mix to form suds. Soak your aligners in the soapy water for 20–30 minutes, then rinse your aligners clean. Remember not to use that soapy cup as a drinking glass, but consider hanging onto it for a future April Fool’s prank.
In a cup, mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts warm (but not too warm!) water. Soak your aligners in the liquid for 20 minutes, then rinse in cool water.
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with ½ cup water and soak your aligners for 60 minutes, then scoop out your aligners and rinse them before reuniting them with your teeth. You can also use this baking soda mixture to brighten up dirty running shoes and clean your shower grout, but hey, your level of cleanliness is your own business.
Soak aligners in a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Think of all those bubbles as bad breath fizzing away.
A good retainer cleaner can work wonders without breaking the bank. Simply drop one tablet of cleaner into a cup of warm water and submerge your aligners for 15–20 minutes. Rinse aligners thoroughly with water and pop them in your mouth. Voila!
Remember, always avoid abrasive cleaners, like toothpaste, which can scratch your aligners and cause damage. Never use bleach, alcohol or other harsh chemicals as cleaning agents, and avoid boiling water, which can warp your aligner friends. We’re going for sparkling smiles here, not scratched-up gums.