How to Clean Your Removable Dental Appliances

The ultimate guide to caring for aligners, retainers, gum shields, night and snore guards, and whitening trays.

If you wear a removable appliance, you might be wondering how to care for it. Your appliance sits inside your mouth and against your teeth, so it quickly accumulates bacteria, plaque and calculus (hardened plaque). Just like you brush your teeth every day, it’s important to clean your appliance every day after each time they’re worn.

There are several types of dental appliances:

  • Aligners: Clear braces, such as Invisalign, that are worn for up to 22 hours a day to straighten teeth

  • Retainers: Worn after orthodontic treatment during the day or at night to ensure that teeth don’t shift over time, thus ruining all the work done by the braces

  • Nightguard/bruxing appliance: Helps you stop grinding your teeth at night

  • Gum shield: Protects your teeth during contact sports

  • Snore guard: Helps reduce snoring during sleep

  • Whitening trays: Custom-made trays to whiten your teeth at home

What happens if you don’t clean your appliance?

Without cleaning your appliance regularly, it will keep collecting bacteria and plaque from your mouth while you wear it. Over time, it may even start to smell or taste funny if you don’t clean it often enough.

More importantly, appliances can harbor dangerous bacteria. While many bacteria are normally found in the mouth, when too many build up, they can cause gum disease, dental decay and oral thrush.

Cleaning your appliance is just as important as brushing your teeth. You need to clean your appliance in warm water with a cleaner once a day to keep it in good condition. It’s a good idea to brush it out after each meal as well.

Signs of an unclean appliance:

  • The appliance smells or tastes bad

  • There is a film on the appliance

  • The appliance looks cloudy

  • It has been more than a few days since it was cleaned

  • There are white spots on the appliance.

White spots could be mineral buildup (calculus) caused by plaque solidifying on the appliance. Another sign that an appliance needs cleaning is it keeps breaking or cracking. Just as bacteria can damage the teeth, they can also damage the appliance.

How to clean dental appliances

I use Clean’ners for my appliances (use my code ‘AMLH’ at checkout for free postage and packaging). They are quick and easy to use and you can order them in stock supply. Clean’ners are perfect for someone embarking on an Invisalign journey as you can order enough cleaning tablets to last your treatment plan.

Simply pop one Clean’ners tablet in a cup of warm water and place your appliance inside. Soak for 15-30 minutes, then rinse under running water before wearing.

In addition to cleaning your appliances, you should change your toothbrush every three months as well, and clean it daily. I use Clean’ners Toothbrush Pack to disinfect my toothbrush from bacteria and viruses.

Clean’ners helps to kill bacteria, reduce odour, remove plaque and debris and maintain freshness of your dental appliance. It is also suitable for vegans.



Chelsea Dental Clinic

298 Fulham Road

London SW10 9EP
0207 349 8889

Mondays: 9am - 6pm

Alternate Tuesdays: 9am - 6pm

Alternate Thursdays: 9am - 6pm

Fridays: 9am - 5pm


White & Co

19 Battersea Rise,
London SW11 1HG

0207 223 5177

Book via Whatsapp (mention you want to see Anna): 07398 510311

Alternate Tuesdays: 8am - 2pm

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Last updated September 2020

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