Do Clear Aligners Cause Gum Recession?
Oral Health Blog

Do Clear Aligners Cause Gum Recession?

Clear aligners themselves don't typically cause gum recession, but improper use or poor hygiene can contribute to gum issues. Using a purple persulfate-free retainer cleaner helps maintain optimal hygiene by keeping aligners clean and free from harsh chemicals, which supports healthy gums during treatment.

Understanding Gum Recession

What is Gum Recession?

Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth or its root. This condition can lead to sensitivity, increased risk of tooth decay, and aesthetic concerns.

Common Causes of Gum Recession

  • Periodontal Disease: This is a major cause of gum recession and involves inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure.
  • Aggressive Brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can cause the gums to recede.
  • Genetics: Some people are more prone to gum disease and recession due to their genetic makeup.
  • Hormonal Changes: Changes in hormone levels, especially in women, can make gums more sensitive and vulnerable to recession.
  • Tobacco Use: Smoking or using other tobacco products can damage the gums and cause them to recede.

How Clear Aligners Work

Mechanism of Action

Clear aligners are custom-made, transparent trays that fit snugly over your teeth. They work by applying gentle, consistent pressure to move teeth into their desired position over time. Each set of aligners is worn for about one to two weeks before progressing to the next set.

Benefits of Clear Aligners

  • Discreet Appearance: Made from clear plastic, aligners are almost invisible.
  • Removable: You can take them out for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing.
  • Custom Fit: Aligners are tailored to the specific shape of your teeth for maximum effectiveness.

Do Clear Aligners Cause Gum Recession?

Potential Risks

While clear aligners are generally safe, there are potential risks that could contribute to gum recession.

  1. Improper Fit: If aligners do not fit properly, they can irritate the gums and cause inflammation.
  2. Poor Oral Hygiene: Failing to maintain proper oral hygiene while using aligners can lead to plaque buildup, gum disease, and subsequently, gum recession.
  3. Neglecting Dental Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor gum health and address any issues promptly.

Research Findings

Current research indicates that clear aligners, when used correctly, do not directly cause gum recession. However, poor oral hygiene and improper aligner fit can lead to conditions that contribute to gum recession.

Maintaining Healthy Gums with Clear Aligners

Proper Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to prevent gum issues during aligner treatment.

  1. Regular Brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Floss Daily: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between teeth and along the gum line.
  3. Use Mouthwash: An antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce plaque and keep your gums healthy.

Correct Aligner Usage

  1. Follow Instructions: Wear aligners for the recommended 20-22 hours a day.
  2. Ensure Proper Fit: If your aligners do not fit correctly, consult your orthodontist immediately.
  3. Clean Aligners Regularly: Clean your aligners as instructed by your orthodontist to prevent bacterial buildup.

Regular Dental Visits

  1. Routine Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor the health of your gums and teeth.
  2. Professional Cleanings: Professional cleanings help remove plaque and tartar that regular brushing and flossing might miss.

What to Do If You Notice Gum Recession

Signs of Gum Recession

  • Sensitivity: Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
  • Visible Roots: You may notice that more of your tooth or its root is exposed.
  • Longer Teeth: Your teeth may appear longer than usual.
  • Notch at the Gum Line: A notch can sometimes be felt near the gum line.

Immediate Actions

  1. Consult Your Orthodontist: If you notice signs of gum recession, consult your orthodontist or dentist immediately.
  2. Maintain Oral Hygiene: Continue with diligent oral hygiene practices.
  3. Adjust Aligner Use: Your orthodontist might adjust your treatment plan to alleviate any issues.


Clear aligners are an effective and discreet method for straightening teeth. When used correctly and with proper oral hygiene, they do not directly cause gum recession. However, poor oral hygiene, improper fit, and neglecting dental check-ups can contribute to conditions that might lead to gum recession.

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE. 



The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.