One of the biggest advantages of Invisalign aligners, and in fact orthodontics with aligners, is that you can take them out for eating and drinking. This great feature is enough to let you eat and drink whatever you want as long as aligners are out of your mouth.
In general, there are two simple rules on your side about orthodontics with Invisalign clear aligners. The first is that this fast and effective type of orthodontics demands compliance and commitment. So, wear the aligners for the recommended 22 hours per day and stay consistent with this tip for the entire Invisalign treatment period.
Another rule is to follow regular oral hygiene but with more close attention than before. Normally, other necessary dos and don’ts with Invisalign can be made clear either by your orthodontist or during the early days of your treatment.
With this in mind, let’s explain the common basics regarding Invisalign eating and drinking.
Can you eat with Invisalign?
Invisalign, like all aligners, are removable, so you must remove your aligner trays when you eat food. Thus, they are very different from what you used to with traditional braces, where brackets are fixed on each tooth and wires attached in between brackets for each arch in the upper and lower teeth.
There are no food restrictions with Invisalign clear aligners and no special diet to follow. However, you need to take proper care of your teeth and aligners, and do routine oral hygiene. This way, you ensure that your orthodontic treatment goes ahead as planned without any interruption.
What happens if you eat while wearing Invisalign aligners?
Staining, cracks, breaking, and simply many terrible things will happen once you chew on aligners. If you eat while the aligners are over your teeth, you not only damage the aligners but also run the risk of harming your teeth and oral soft tissues.
Aligners are not made to withstand chewing pressures and biting forces. They are designed to correct irregular and crooked teeth and for orthodontic purposes. Invisalign aligners apply the necessary force needed for each stage of teeth movement. If any damage occurs to them, treatment cannot be as effective and you might not notice that until your next visit to the orthodontist.
Never eat while having Invisalign aligners in your mouth because:
- Aligners are a type of plastic and by eating on them you distort, change their shape, and tear them apart.
- You can damage your teeth and gums.
- Your treatment will be disrupted and this can delay the whole teeth straightening process for your orthodontics if you don’t take action on time.
- If damaged trays are not changed for the newer ones, the necessary tooth movement to straighten teeth cannot happen.
- There might be additional lab costs for the replacement trays.
Can you drink with Invisalign in?
You can drink anything you want as long as the aligners are out from your mouth. The only drink you are allowed to have while wearing your Invisalign trays in is water. If you want to drink coffee, tea, soda, or any of your favorite beverages, you should first remove your aligners.
Remember that high-pigmented drinks can easily stain your teeth as well as the aligners. So, brush your teeth, rinse, and follow routine oral hygiene after any drinking except with water to avoid staining and discoloring your teeth and the trays.
Some of the stain- and decay-causing drinks that either contain pigmentation or cause yellowing include:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Sports drinks
- Fruit juice
Can you snack with Invisalign?
You must remove your aligners before snacking. Invisalign aligners require 22 hours wear time. If you frequently snack during the day, you cannot achieve the recommended time needed for aligners to take their effects.
The good thing about Invisalign aligners is that you are free on eating. But you should keep in mind that leaving your aligners out more than 4 hours daily can slow down your orthodontics treatment in the long run. Your orthodontist may ask you to wear the current aligners more. Therefore, your treatment will take longer and it is may not go as planned.
Do you need to brush your teeth each time you remove Invisalign?
Since aligners should remain on your teeth for long hours, teeth cleaning should be a strict hygiene program you practice. There are two situations where Invisalign aligners are removed: for teeth cleaning and for eating or drinking. If you want to quench your thirst with just water, obviously brushing is not necessary. Even better, water will keep your mouth hydrated, helping saliva flow to rinse out decay-causing acids and wash away extra substances.
Given that each brushing teeth should be done at least 30 minutes after eating, divide the time equally and sufficiently between your main meals, snacks, drinks, and oral health tasks.
Watch out for Sugar rich diet and acidic drinks
High-sugar foods, drinks and acidic beverages are the prominent enemies of dental health. The unhealthier the diet, the higher the risks for your teeth and gums.
When you eat or drink something, the sugar in your foods and drinks causes tooth decay. This happens because bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar and produce acids that eat away the tooth enamel little by little. When you don’t brush your teeth, bacteria will remain active and accumulate, turning into plaque that forms on teeth.
Thus, regardless of whether you are straightening teeth or not, teeth are always prone to decay. You need fluoride to neutralize sugar and acid harm.
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after each meal, snack, and drink (not again with water). Always floss to remove remaining foods that are stuck between your teeth. These two hygiene rules will make your smile glow and teeth shine as misaligned teeth are being straightened.
How to clean the Invisalign aligner trays?
The best way to clean your Invisalign aligners is to rinse with water, clean with liquid soap, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush for thorough cleaning. You can try the Invisalign special cleaning solutions or other safe products by the manufacturer to disinfect and remove any food residue from the aligners.
Here are the steps:
- Rinse the aligners under mildly warm water to wash away food particles.
- Brush the aligners using a soft-bristled toothbrush and liquid soap to remove both bacterial plaque and sticky food residue.
- Rinse the trays again to clean them thoroughly and wash away the soap.
- After each meal, snack or drink, and before putting the Invisalign aligners in your mouth, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss.
- Put back your aligners on immediately before it gets too late for the recommended 22 hours per day.
Key Takeaways with Invisalign
Invisalign aligners are fast, highly effective, and advanced aligner systems which treat many compromised dental problems. Be patient and wait to see your perfect smile. You only need some getting-used-to and basic caring tips to follow, especially for eating habits and oral health.
- Don’t eat or drink while wearing Invisalign aligner trays.
- Brush and floss your teeth to prevent tooth decay, get rid of leftovers that are trapped between your teeth, and make sure no infections put your health at risk while helping aligners fit well on your cleaner teeth.
- Do not remove your aligners for unnecessary reasons and follow the daily wear time.
- Plan out your meals and avoid snacking too much.
- Remember that healthy eating always ensures better dental and gum health. Candy, coffee, soda, high-sugar foods, and acidic drinks are some prime culprits for stains and the onset of decay on your teeth.
- Stay away from chewing gum either.
- Keep your Invisalign aligners away from hot water since it can warp and damage the aligner trays easily.
- With treatment or not, avoid smoking and tobacco use at all times.