Clear Aligners and Mouthwash: What to Know Before Incorporating It Into Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Clear Aligners and Mouthwash: What to Know Before Incorporating It Into Your Oral Hygiene Routine

Clear aligners have become an increasingly popular option for individuals seeking a discreet and convenient way to straighten their teeth. These transparent trays offer an attractive alternative to traditional metal braces. While aligners provide many benefits, it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene throughout the treatment process.

Incorporating mouthwash into your daily routine can be a valuable addition, but it's essential to understand how to use it correctly and its potential impact on clear aligners.

Understanding clear aligners

Clear aligners are trays that are specifically constructed to fit over your teeth and gradually move them into the proper position. They are typically made of a clear, BPA-free plastic material, making them nearly invisible when worn. These aligners are removable, allowing you to eat, drink, and brush your teeth without any obstruction. Clear aligners offer greater comfort compared to traditional braces and require fewer visits to the orthodontist for adjustments.

Maintaining oral hygiene with clear aligners

Oral hygiene is of utmost importance when wearing clear aligners. Aligners create a snug fit around your teeth, creating a space where bacteria and food particles can accumulate if proper care is not taken. Regular brushing and flossing are essential to keep your teeth and aligners clean.

The benefits of mouthwash

Mouthwash, also known as an oral rinse, is a liquid solution used to freshen your breath and promote oral health. Incorporating mouthwash into your daily routine can provide additional benefits when used correctly alongside clear aligners.

Kills bacteria

Mouthwash contains antibacterial properties that can help reduce the bacteria in your mouth, minimizing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Freshen breath

Mouthwash often contains ingredients like menthol and essential oils, which leave a refreshing taste and help combat bad breath.

Reaches difficult areas

Mouthwash can reach areas that may be hard to clean with a toothbrush or floss, such as the back of the mouth and between teeth.

Choosing the right mouthwash

When selecting a mouthwash to use with clear aligners, it's crucial to choose one that is compatible with the plastic material of the aligners.


Opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash, as alcohol, can damage the plastic material of the aligners, causing them to become discoloured or warped.

pH balanced

Look for a mouthwash that is pH balanced to avoid any potential harm to your teeth and aligners. A neutral pH level helps maintain a healthy oral environment.


Some mouthwashes are specifically designed for individuals with orthodontic appliances. These mouthwashes are formulated to be safe for use with braces or aligners and can help reduce the risk of plaque buildup.

Consult with your orthodontist

If you are unsure which mouthwash to use, consult your orthodontist. They can provide recommendations based on your specific treatment and oral health needs.

Incorporating mouthwash into your routine

Brush and Floss

Start by brushing your teeth thoroughly with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Follow up with flossing to remove any food particles and plaque between your teeth and under the aligners.

Rinse with water

Rinse your mouth with water to remove any residual toothpaste or debris before using mouthwash. This helps ensure that the mouthwash can work effectively.

Measure the correct amount

Check the instructions on the mouthwash bottle to determine the recommended amount to use. Generally, a capful of about 20 millilitres is sufficient. Avoid using more than the recommended amount, which may lead to excessive foaming or discomfort.

Swish and gargle

Pour the measured mouthwash into your mouth and swish it around for about 30 seconds. Make sure to reach all areas of your mouth, including between your teeth and along the gumline. Gargle the mouthwash for a few seconds, ensuring that it reaches the back of your throat.

Avoid swallowing

Spit out the mouthwash after gargling. Do not swallow it, as it is meant for rinsing and not for ingestion. Swallowing mouthwash can cause stomach upset and should be avoided.

Clean the aligners

After using mouthwash, clean your aligners as recommended by your orthodontist. Typically, this involves gently brushing them with a soft toothbrush and water. Avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and may cause scratches on the aligners, making them more noticeable.

Repeat as directed

Follow the instructions provided by your orthodontist or the mouthwash manufacturer regarding the frequency of use. In most cases, using mouthwash once or twice a day, preferably after brushing and flossing, is sufficient. Overusing mouthwash may disrupt the natural balance of oral bacteria.

Potential considerations and precautions

Avoid coloured mouthwash

Coloured mouthwashes may contain dyes that can stain or discolour the aligners. Opt for clear or transparent mouthwashes to minimize the risk of staining.

Use mouthwash away from the aligner soaking

If you soak your aligners in a cleaning solution, make sure to do so separately from using mouthwash. Some cleaning solutions may react with the ingredients in mouthwash, potentially causing damage to the aligners.

Temporary sensitivity

Some individuals may experience temporary sensitivity when using mouthwash, especially if it contains alcohol or other active ingredients. If you notice any discomfort or irritation, discontinue use and consult your orthodontist for guidance.

Orthodontist recommendations

Your orthodontist may have specific recommendations or restrictions regarding using mouthwash with clear aligners. It is always best to follow their guidance to ensure the most effective and safe treatment.

Maintain good oral hygiene habits

While mouthwash can complement your oral hygiene routine, it should not replace regular brushing and flossing. These practices are essential for removing plaque and maintaining overall oral health. Mouthwash should be used as an additional step to enhance your oral hygiene efforts.

Choosing the right mouthwash

Mouthwash can provide added benefits, such as freshening breath, reducing bacteria, and reaching difficult-to-clean areas. However, it is crucial to choose the right mouthwash that is compatible with the aligner material, preferably alcohol-free and pH balanced. Consulting your orthodontist for recommendations and guidelines specific to your treatment is advisable.

By incorporating mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine with clear aligners, you can enhance your overall oral health and keep your aligners clean and fresh. Remember, clear aligners are an investment in your smile, and proper oral hygiene practices, including the use of mouthwash, are vital for successful treatment.


Can I use mouthwash while wearing clear aligners?

Yes, you can use mouthwash while wearing clear aligners. However, it's important to choose an alcohol-free mouthwash to prevent any potential damage or discoloration to the aligners.

How should I clean my clear aligners with mouthwash?

To clean your clear aligners with mouthwash, remove them from your mouth and rinse them thoroughly with water. Then, soak them in a cup of mouthwash for the recommended time specified by the aligner manufacturer. Finally, rinse the aligners again with water before putting them back in your mouth.

Are there any precautions I should take when using mouthwash with clear aligners?

Avoid using colored or heavily pigmented mouthwashes, which may stain your aligners. Additionally, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for both the aligners and the mouthwash to ensure proper care and maintenance.

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