What Happens If You Never Clean Your Teeth When Using Clear Aligners

What Happens If You Never Clean Your Teeth When Using Clear Aligners

Clear aligners by our dentist in Phoenix, AZ are an alternative to braces that use clear molded trays instead of metal brackets, wires and elastics. Clear aligners offer patients a less noticeable way to straighten their teeth; however, they also place a slightly greater burden on care and proper usage with the patient.

The importance of proper care and usage

If patients do not follow the outlined instructions for how long to wear aligners and how to properly care for their teeth while using aligners, serious consequences can arise. While using clear aligner trays might sound simple — you take them out and put them in — to get the best results and keep teeth healthy and free of problems, patients need to pay attention to more than that.

Why proper teeth cleaning is so important

When not wearing corrective applications like braces or aligners, patients are encouraged to brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day and after meals when possible. If a patient is using aligners, this recommendation by the dentist in 85053 goes up and is even more important. To keep teeth free of cavities while wearing aligners, it is important that patients try to brush and floss every time they eat. Aligners closely cover both the front and back of teeth, potentially trapping food particles and sugars between the aligners and the teeth. This creates an environment where plaque can thrive. Tooth decay and enamel breakdown will rapidly accelerate if wearers never clean their teeth while using aligners.

Tips for keeping teeth clean while using aligners

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial when using aligners like Invisalign to ensure optimal results and prevent dental issues. Here are some tips for keeping your teeth clean while using aligners:

  • Brush and Floss Regularly: It's important to maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing at least twice a day, or after every meal if possible. Brushing helps remove food particles and plaque from the teeth, while flossing helps clean between the teeth and along the gumline.
  • Clean Aligners Daily: Clean your aligners daily to prevent bacterial buildup and odors. Rinse them with lukewarm water every time you remove them from your mouth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush the aligners with a clear, unscented antibacterial soap or the manufacturer's recommended cleaning solution. Avoid using toothpaste, as it may be abrasive and damage the aligners.
  • Avoid Eating or Drinking Anything Besides Water: Remove your aligners before eating or drinking anything besides water to prevent staining and bacterial growth. Consuming colored or sugary beverages while wearing aligners can increase the risk of cavities and damage to the aligners.
  • Brush Teeth Before Reinserting Aligners: Before reinserting your aligners after eating or drinking, brush your teeth thoroughly to remove any food particles or plaque. This helps prevent bacteria from being trapped between the aligners and teeth, reducing the risk of decay and bad breath.
  • Use Aligner Chewies: Aligner chewies are small, soft cylindrical cushions that help ensure a snug fit of the aligners against your teeth. Chew on them for a few minutes after inserting your aligners to help seat them properly and improve their effectiveness.
  • Keep Aligners Hygienic On the Go: Carry a travel toothbrush and floss with you so you can clean your teeth and aligners whenever you're away from home. Consider using a travel-sized container for storing your aligners hygienically when not in use.
  • Attend Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings with your dentist or orthodontist to monitor your oral health and ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.

By following these tips and maintaining good oral hygiene habits, you can keep your teeth clean and healthy while using aligners, ensuring successful orthodontic treatment and a beautiful, confident smile. Call us to learn more.


Clear aligners can be a wonderful option for correcting crooked teeth or other orthodontic issues, but just like with traditional braces, caring for teeth during the process may be a little different than usual. To avoid potential issues like dental caries, tooth decay, and gum disease, it is important for patients to clean their teeth thoroughly before replacing the aligners. Cleaning after eating and drinking is particularly important and may require a little extra effort on the patient’s part: a small price to pay for a straight, healthy smile.

Request an appointment or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at 602-547-9007 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.


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