If you're an adult, and you've decided to have your teeth straightened, clear braces are the way to go. Clear braces, such as Invisalign, allow you to effectively straighten your teeth without the use of visible metal brackets and wires. However, it's important to note that you will need to take good care of the aligner trays that you'll wear over your teeth. Without proper care, your aligner trays can become discolored and can develop foul odors. Here are some tips that will help you avoid problems when caring for your aligner trays.

Watch the Temperature of the Water

When it comes to caring for your aligner trays, it's important that you avoid the use of extremely hot water. You may think that soaking your aligner trays is a good way to eliminate bacteria and odors, but that's not the case. Because the aligner trays are made from plastic, hot water can cause serious damage. In fact, soaking your aligners in hot water can change the shape. If that happens, your aligners might not fit in your mouth properly. To protect your aligners, always use cold or room temperature water for cleaning and rinsing.

Avoid the Use of Toothpaste

If you were thinking of using toothpaste and a firm toothbrush to clean your aligner trays, you'll want to rethink that decision. Toothpaste is great for cleaning your teeth and removing plaque and tartar buildup, but the abrasiveness will destroy your aligner trays. To clean your aligner trays without the use of abrasive toothpastes, use a small amount of liquid antibacterial hand soap. The antibacterial soap will keep your aligners crystal clear. 

Keep Denture Cleaner on Hand

If you're not careful with your aligner trays, they can develop foul odors. That's because bacteria can build up on the inside of the aligners. The best way to get rid of the odors is to soak your aligners in denture cleaner at least once a day. The denture cleaner will remove the bacteria that can cause foul odors and will also keep your aligners sanitary.

Take Your Aligners Out When You Eat

Finally, if you want to keep your aligner trays as clean and odor-free as possible, be sure to remove them before you eat. Eating with your aligners in place allows food particles to get trapped between your teeth and the aligners. The longer the food remains there, the more significant the odor problems will become. For maximum odor protection, remove the aligners before you eat, and brush your teeth before placing them back in your mouth.