What To Do If Your Invisalign Smells?

This is a blog about aligner funk, which is not a band from the 1970’s (though it’d be a lot cooler if it was). No, this blog is about answering the noxious question of what to do if your Invisalign smells, because even diligently cleaning your teeth twice a day may still leave your trays with a particular odor after 22 hours of daily wear time.

With the typical tray cycle of two weeks, that amounts to 308 total hours of clear plastic in your mouth, which is the perfect recipe to make your Invisalign smell. But the good news is you can control the issue with some simple updates to your daily routine. Are you ready to wear your invisible braces without feeling self conscious about odor? Great! First, let’s answer the original question.

Why Does My Invisalign Smell?

Your mouth is full of bacteria and they all have a job to do. Most are good bacteria which keep the mouth balanced and healthy, while others simply stay alive because we keep feeding them. They find refuge in all the cracks and crevices in our mouths, and there's no way to get rid of them all. The best we can do is minimize the negative impact they have on our mouths.

You may already be playing from behind. According to Perioprotect, a whopping 80% of people have some form of gum disease brewing in their mouths and many don’t even know it. Not only can this be a huge problem for our overall oral hygiene and health, but it can lead to chronic bad breath that invisible braces will only exacerbate. That is why it's very important to ramp up your oral hygiene practices when you start Invisalign, because any time you put something else into your mouth (whether it’s braces, retainers or dentures), you’ll be giving bacteria another place to hang, hide, attach and flourish.

Make sure you check in with your dentist regularly before, during, and after Invisalign treatment.

Before you started wearing your clear aligners, food particles and bacteria were routinely washed away by saliva and drinking fluids throughout the course of a day. But trapping those particles under your trays is an entirely new story. Therefore, it’s crucial that you put your aligners on over clean teeth to prevent them from absorbing the odors produced by bacteria.

How to Solve Invisalign Smells

Now that we know the causes of aligner funk, let’s talk about cleaning methods that help mitigate the issue. Beyond cleaning your teeth, you also need a focused plan to clean your retainers. The easiest and most effective way to clean your Invisalign and keep it from smelling is to cleanse and freshen your aligners and kill the bacteria, something that Smile Saver™ Spray does quite effectively. In fact, it kills up to 99.9% of odor causing bacteria in just 60 seconds and with a great-tasting peroxide-free formula that requires no rinsing. It’s got a fresh minty flavor to give your breath a little post-meal boost while cleansing those trays.

Next are products like Movemints, mints designed specifically for use with all types of clear aligners. They’ve got a patented shape that helps patients seat their trays and fight bad breath; also, they are sugar free and sweetened with xylitol. This means you can eat them while you wear your clear aligners, since xylitol is a dentist approved, non-sugar sweetener with beneficial properties. Although Movemints won’t kill oral bacteria, they do help treat dry mouth which is a major cause of Invisalign smells.

Smile Saver Spray and Movemints Clear Aligner Mints make a great team!

There are other remedies for how to clean retainers, so we definitely recommend reading our blog on this topic. From soaking trays in denture cleaner to brushing them with non-abrasive soap each time you take them out, a cleaning routine is imperative if you want to eliminate any Invisalign smell your aligners pick up along the way. And if you can’t find a remedy that works for you, check out the Reddit community r/Invisalign, with over 14,000 users from all over the world sharing progress pictures, advice, tips and hacks. It’s a great way to stay connected with the exciting field of invisible orthodontics.

Improve your Oral Hygiene to Deal With Odors

When starting a new program like Invisalign, it is important to incrementally develop good habits that will keep your oral hygiene at a high level and your cleaning routine consistent. Invisalign is such a change to your typical routine (no more leisurely morning coffee or easy afternoon snacks), so start with small goals and gradually build up to the best possible hygiene habits that you can realistically and consistently maintain.

Your first habit will be to brush your teeth after each meal. Most of us are comfortable with brushing in the morning and evening, but when we wear clear aligners this is insufficient to remove all the food and bacteria from our mouth before we wear clear plastic aligners for hours on end. This means that flossing is your second habit to add; you should floss daily, and ideally after every meal.

After these basics, it’s important to create habits that will keep your retainers clean and clear. Soaking them daily in a cleaning solution is ambitious, but you can use our Smile Saver Spray as often as you’d like for a fresh, disinfecting blast of our patent-pending formula. Just give it 60 seconds to get to work, then pop your aligners back in and get on with your day.

Now this new routine will require some patience and discipline, but we hear many Invisalign patients remark how they enjoy the new dental hygiene practices they are forced to adopt. But you’re going to have days where not everything gets done, so don’t be too hard on yourself; nobody becomes a master of oral hygiene overnight. Do the best you can every day, and always aim to do a little bit better tomorrow. And if you need tools to make your habits easier, check out this Ultimate Invisalign Accessories Kit. It’s got everything you need to stay healthy with aligners on the go, from Smile Saver Spray to biodegradable floss picks to Movemints clear aligner mints. It’s a great value!

Prevent Invisalign Smells Before They Occur

Long story short, it's easier to clean your Invisalign every time you take it out than it is to scrub away built on plaque once it gets established. This is where healthy habits become the first line of defence in making sure you are doing everything possible to prevent Invisalign smells and maintain clean trays throughout each cycle.

If you find that your retainer has become cloudy, or tinted, it's likely a buildup of plaque. Plaque is why toothpastes have compounds in them like baking soda which helps remove it, which is harder to do once it starts to build up. Now you can't use hard or abrasive things on soft plastic, or you'll risk damaging or scratching your trays – leading to even more places for bacteria to hide and multiply.

Develop good hygiene habits and Invisalign smells will be the last thing on your mind.

But you don't necessarily need a bunch of professional grade equipment to eliminate plaque from your trays. Just use gentle soap and a soft bristle toothbrush (buy one that you only use for your trays) and incorporate this cleaning procedure into your routine. If you keep up with it, your Invisalign trays will stay clean, plaque free and germ free. But if the plaque does get out of hand, you may need to look into specific soaking solutions or professional help from your provider. That being said, DON'T worry if you're already at this step. Our blog on how to clean stained Invisalign trays offers low cost ways to address plaque build up and other common affronts to clear aligner wearers.

When your Invisalign smells bad, know that you are not alone. Life can get in the way of the best laid plans, but rest assured that Invisalign smell is not a permanent affliction. With a consistent cleaning routine and upgraded oral hygiene, you can get back on track to a fresh, odor-free treatment journey in no time.

4 comments

  • I liked that you explained that an odd smell coming from your Invisalign aligners is because of a build-up of plaque. It does seem like you would want to clean them well. Personally, I would want to ask a dentist about good cleaning products to use on the aligners. https://www.sardiniadental.com/invisalign/

    Ivy Baker
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