Why Clear Aligners Turn Yellow (& What You Can Do About It)

The whole point of clear aligners is to straighten your teeth with subtle treatment, but the trays can become yellow if you aren’t careful.

To date, more than 12 million patients have chosen to straighten their teeth with Invisalign. If you also picked clear aligners over metal braces, the subtlety of the clear aligners probably appealed to you. As a result, you might be a bit discouraged when they start to yellow. The good news is that there are several ways to prevent that from happening. With this in mind, keep reading to learn why clear aligners turn yellow and what you can do about it!

So, Why Do Clear Aligners Discolor?
Most often, discoloration surfaces from not following the Invisalign treatment guidelines. One example is that you’re supposed to remove your aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water. If you pick up the habit of sipping on coffee, soda, or wine with your trays in, then it won’t take long for noticeable stains to develop.

Another example is that you need to consistently clean your aligners throughout the day. If you don’t rinse them with clean, cool water before putting them in their storage case or you don’t use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub each surface after you’re done eating, food particles, plaque, and other debris will cling to your trays, causing them to turn yellow.

4 Simple Tips for Keeping Your Trays Clean and Clear
The good news is that you really only need two things to keep your aligners clean: cool water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. We recommend adopting the below habits:

Rinsing your trays with water each time you take them out
Placing your aligners in their designated storage case when you aren’t wearing them
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and water to clean your trays after each meal
Using the cleaning crystals to clean your aligners as needed
How To: Use Your Invisalign Cleaning Crystals
When you open your Invisalign welcome kit, you’ll see a few things, including a few packets of cleaning crystals. These are designed to give your trays a bit of a deeper clean. To use them properly:

Fill a small, clean container with lukewarm water
Add a packet of cleaning crystals to the water
Shake the container gently to dissolve the cleaning crystals
Gently place your aligners in the mixture
Allow your trays to soak for 15 minutes or so
Remove your aligners, rinse them with water, and put them back in your mouth
Remember, Brushing and Flossing Are Important Too!
Even if you are diligent about cleaning your aligners, they will look dull and yellow if you don’t take good care of your teeth. So, make sure to follow all of your dentist’s advice! That starts with brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash consistently and extends to coming in for a checkup and cleaning every six months. It’s also a good idea to make water your beverage of choice and eat light-colored foods when possible, like white fish, hard-boiled eggs, and plain yogurt.

With a commitment to following a good oral hygiene regimen and taking good care of your trays, you won’t have to worry about noticeable, yellow stains surfacing!