10 Important Do's and Don'ts To Follow With Invisalign Retainers

If you are one of the many people who have chosen to straighten their teeth with Invisalign, congratulations! Invisalign aligners are a great way to achieve straighter teeth without the hassle of traditional braces. However, just like with any other dental treatment, it is important to follow the proper instructions and simple rules to ensure optimal results.

In this blog post, we will discuss 10 important Invisalign dos and don'ts to follow when having an Invisalign retainer. We will also talk about what can happen if you don't follow these instructions!

What are the dos and don'ts while having an Invisalign Retainer?

It is important to follow the instructions of your doctor or orthodontist when going through the Invisalign treatment. Here are ten Invisalign do's and don'ts to keep in mind with the Invisalign Retainer:

1. You should wear your aligners for as long as possible.

A woman is using Invisalign retainers

The recommended amount of time is 20 to 22 hours a day, which will help ensure that you see results quickly and enjoy the full benefits of your treatment.

What happens if you wear Invisalign for less than 22 hours per day?

If you wear your aligners for less than 22 hours per day, it may lengthen the time of treatment and can result in relapse, meaning that your teeth will return to their original position, undoing the work that has been done.

2. Can you eat with Invisalign retainers?

Yes, you can eat whatever you want while undergoing Invisalign treatment because aligners are designed to be easily removed. However, it is important to remember that you must remove your retainers before eating food.  Removing the aligners before eating will help ensure that they do not get damaged or stained from the food, and help maintain their effectiveness in straightening your teeth.

What happens if you eat while wearing Invisalign retainers?

It is not recommended to eat or drink while wearing aligners as the powerful force of chewing food can cause them to crack or break. Eating with clear aligners may also damage your oral health because food particles will get stuck between them and your teeth, leading to plaque buildup that can cause cavities and other dental issues.

In addition, foods can stain the Clear Aligners, making it more difficult for you to achieve optimal results.

3. Brush your teeth before wearing Invisalign.

A woman is brushing her teeth

Brushing your teeth before wearing aligners is essential to ensure that your mouth is clean and free of small food particles and debris. This helps make the aligners more comfortable to wear and prevents bacteria from growing between the trays and your teeth, which can lead to plaque buildup and other oral health issues. Brushing your teeth will also help ensure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene while undergoing treatment, which is essential for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

What happens if you don't brush your teeth before wearing retainers?

Without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can quickly build up in the trays, causing serious damage to your teeth and gums, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and plaque accumulation. If bacteria get into the trays, they can also spread to other areas of your mouth, leading to other potential health issues. Not only will brushing help prevent bacteria buildup but also ensure that your teeth stay healthy during treatment.

4. Soak your aligners at least once a day.

An Invisalign aligner being soaked

One of the most important parts of Invisalign treatment is keeping your aligner clean.  It is recommended to soak your aligners at least once a day.  Invisalign Cleaning Crystals are a great option for soaking aligners, but they are not a necessity; other cleaning products can work just as well, helping to remove any food debris, plaque buildup, and bacterial from the trays and ensuring that they are clean and hygienic for use.

What will happen if you don't soak your aligners at least once a day?

If you do not soak your aligners regularly this will lead to an accumulation of bacteria on the trays which can cause bad breath, gum disease, and cavities. Additionally, not soaking them regularly may make them less effective as they won’t be able to move your teeth as effectively.

5. Be sure to get regular dental cleanings.

A dentist who is doing dental cleanings on her patient

It's important to get regular dental cleanings during orthodontic treatment. Professional teeth cleanings are essential for keeping your teeth healthy throughout orthodontic treatment and preventing cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues. During these appointments, your orthodontist or dentist will use specialized tools and techniques to remove plaque from around your braces or aligners and thoroughly clean your teeth. This will help ensure that your treatment is as effective as possible and that your smile stays healthy for years to come.

6. Avoid chewing gum while wearing Invisalign.

A woman who wants to chew gum

Remember that you should not chew gum with Invisalign. Gum can stick to the tray and cause bacteria to grow. Chewing gum can also make your Invisalign brace displace and cause damage and dental problems. So it is best to avoid chewing gum while you are wearing braces treatment.

7. Do not clean your Invisalign with colored or scented soaps.

three colored or scented soaps

Colored and scented soaps, or harsh cleansers, are not suitable for cleaning the trays, as they can stain the plastic material and leave behind weird tastes in your trays, which can be unpleasant. Additionally, harsh soaps can damage the plastic material and cause it to become brittle or weak over time. Instead, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with an approved denture cleaner or specialized Invisalign Cleaning Crystals for optimal results.

8. Don’t leave the trays laying out.

invisalign aligners in the case

It is important to always store your aligners in their Invisalign case when they are not being used. This will help to protect the aligners from damage and debris that can accumulate on the tray over time. Additionally, leaving the trays lying out exposes them to bacteria and germs which can lead to unpleasant tastes in your mouth and ultimately hinder your treatment progress.

9. Avoid smoking with Invisalign.

A female doctor who breaks cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products is not only bad for your overall health, but it can also cause damage to Invisalign aligners. Inhaling smoke and nicotine will discolor the plastic material of trays, making them less effective and leading to a longer treatment time.

10. Be aware of your caffeine intake.

A woman who does not want to drink coffee to reduce caffeine intake

Caffeine can be found in many of our favorite hot beverages and foods, including coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to dry mouth, which can cause a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the trays. Additionally, drinking caffeinated beverages with Invisalign can stain the plastic material over time, making the trays less effective in moving teeth correctly and even causing them to warp over time.

Frequently asked questions

Why do my Invisalign trays taste strange?

This is a common question among Invisalign wearers and the answer lies in how they clean their trays. The plastic used to make trays has an odorless, tasteless material that can absorb odors, including food and drinks. To avoid this, it's important to avoid harsh soaps when cleaning your trays. Instead, use a mild liquid soap or toothpaste formulated specifically for aligners.

Can Invisalign affect your taste buds?

The answer is yes! In some cases, patients may experience unpleasant tastes in their mouths due to the Invisalign retainers. The trays are made of a type of plastic that can affect the taste buds and create an unpleasant flavor when they come into contact with saliva. This unpleasant taste can last for up to a few hours after taking out the trays, although it typically dissipates quickly. To help minimize this effect, make sure to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after removing your Invisalign tray.

Why does my Invisalign taste like chlorine?

Chlorine is often used in cleaning solutions to help kill germs and bacteria, but it can also leave a strong taste in your mouth when you use Invisalign retainers. This unpleasant taste is because chlorine is an alkaline solution that interacts with the plastic material of the trays. To avoid this, make sure to use only warm water and gentle soap when cleaning your aligners.

What happens when Invisalign trays get damaged?

If your Invisalign trays get damaged, you should contact your orthodontist immediately. Depending on the severity of the damage and how much it affects treatment progress, they may recommend replacing the tray or continuing with a new set of aligners. Replacement trays can be ordered through your doctor's office, and will likely require payment for their cost. It is important to replace any broken or damaged trays to ensure that treatment continues as scheduled and desired results are achieved.

How long after getting Invisalign can I eat?

This is a common question among Invisalign wearers, and the answer is simple. You can eat immediately after putting in your aligners. However, it is important to remember to remove your retainers before eating food. If food gets stuck in between your teeth while wearing the aligners, bacteria can build up which can cause tooth decay and other dental issues.

After each meal, make sure to brush your teeth and rinse the aligner with lukewarm water. Be sure to dry off the aligner completely before putting them back on. This helps ensure proper hygiene and also allows the treatment plan to progress as intended with minimal interruption.

What can I drink while wearing Invisalign?

While wearing Invisalign, you should avoid hot beverages and excessively hot water. Although the aligners are made of safe plastic material, they can become soft from contact with hot temperatures. This could result in an improper fit and possibly even permanent deformation of your aligners.

Cold drinks like soda, juice, iced tea, and smoothies should be avoided as well since certain sugary drinks have corrosive acids that can discolor the aligners. Water is an ideal choice for hydration while wearing Invisalign.


Overall, if you want to have a successful Invisalign treatment, it is important to follow the do's and don'ts above. Not only will following these tips help your Invisalign work more efficiently, but it will also help ensure that your smile stays healthy and looks its best.

If you have any questions about caring for your Invisalign retainers or want to learn more about this treatment option, contact us today at Smiles By Design San Diego. We offer free consultations, to ensure that you receive all the information you need to make the best decision for your smile.