Drinking and Eating With Invisalign: Your Questions Answered
Our Brooklyn Invisalign and Invisalign Teen patients usually opt for the clear aligners because they’re comfortable, removable, and virtually invisible. The treatment offers a way to get straight teeth and a healthy bite with minimal impact on your day-to-day life. While Invisalign is fairly simple to care for, and most people are well aware they’ll need to take their aligners out before biting into something like a sandwich, not everyone is clear on where exactly to draw the line when it comes to drinking and eating with Invisalign.
In this post, I’ll be answering the top questions we get on the subject at Fresh Orthodontics.
What foods can you not eat with Invisalign?
First, what foods can you not eat with Invisalign? There are no Invisalign food restrictions since you’ll take your aligners out before you eat. Want an apple? Have at it. Craving pizza? That’s fine too. All foods are still on the menu as long as your aligners aren’t in your mouth.
The custom-molded aligners fit snug against your teeth, allowing them to exert continuous pressure. This is important for achieving the results you want, but it also means that eating with Invisalign aligners in can lead to food getting trapped between your aligners and your teeth. Your saliva won’t be able to work its way under the aligners to whisk away food debris and plaque like it normally would, putting you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. For this reason, it’s also good practice to brush your teeth and rinse your aligners off after eating, so your mouth and your appliance are clean when you put it back in.
Another thing to keep in mind, whether you have braces or Invisalign, is that teeth move most efficiently in a healthy mouth, and when you’re investing in your smile, the last thing you want is cavities or gum disease to ruin it. So while there may not be Invisalign food restrictions, to ensure your smile is in tip-top shape, have starchy and sugary treats and beverages like candy, soda, chips, and white bread in moderation, or avoid them altogether. Always brush after indulging.
Can you chew gum with Invisalign?
Yup, you can chew gum with Invisalign, again, as long as you take your aligners out first and go with sugarfree gum to prevent cavities. While sugarless gum is less sticky than its sugary counterpart, it still tends to break down and stick on the aligners, causing a mess that can be difficult to clean off.
You’ll want to wear your Invisalign for 20 to 22 hours per day for the best results. The time you spend having breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, as well as brushing and flossing, adds up more quickly than you’d think. You won’t be able to chew gum all day long with Invisalign and stay within that 20-22 hour range. That said, having the occasional piece when your aligners are out is okay.
If you’re bummed about not being able to chew gum when wearing your aligners, replace your gum chewing habit with daily bite, squeeze, and hold exercises using your chewies. This will give you the sensation of chewing, while helping to improve the fit of your aligners.
Can you eat lollipops with Invisalign?
Yes, you can eat lollipops in moderation after removing your Invisalign aligners. Though lollipops and other hard candy you suck on might seem like something you can sneak in while wearing your Invisalign, the sugary residue will get under your aligners, causing bacteria to flourish and release acids, making you more susceptible to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
Can you drink coffee with Invisalign?
Yes, you can drink coffee with Invisalign if you take your aligners out first. Just as with anything else, drinking coffee with Invisalign in will allow the liquid to seep under the aligners. Even under the best circumstances, coffee can stain your teeth, and bathing your enamel in it for hours makes this even more likely. And, if it’s hot, it can also cause the plastic to warp, which will affect the fit of your aligners and could delay your progress.
Can you drink water with Invisalign?
Yes, you can drink water with Invisalign even while you’re wearing your aligners. In fact, the only thing you can eat or drink with Invisalign in is plain water. Be sure to take your aligners out before having flavored water or hot water.
Are there foods you can’t eat with Invisalign attachments?
While there might not be any food restrictions with the aligners themselves, there are foods you can’t eat with Invisalign attachments. Attachments are composite buttons that are bonded to the teeth. They give your aligners something to push off of in order to achieve the necessary leverage and force needed for more complex tooth movements. Not everyone needs Invisalign attachments, but many patients do.
Here’s what not to eat with Invisalign attachments:
- Really hard foods like hard candy, ice, and nuts
- Really sticky foods, such as caramel and gum
- Really chewy foods, including beef jerky and hard, chewy bagels (tear bagels into small pieces instead)
Since the attachments are small, not bonded to every tooth, and don’t involve wires, you don’t need to be as cautious about eating with Invisalign attachments as you do when eating with braces. However, if something is hard, chewy, or sticky enough to pull the attachments off your teeth, it’s best to avoid it until you finish treatment.
Should I change my Invisalign rubber bands after eating?
For certain cases, Invisalign rubber bands, which are small, discreet elastics that connect your upper and lower arch, may be necessary. When taking your aligners out to eat or drink, you’ll also take your elastics off. In order to ensure your rubber bands are clean and have enough elasticity to provide the force needed, put in fresh rubber bands after eating. If you need to use the same rubber bands, because you forgot to bring them with you, just be careful not to wear any set of rubber bands for more than 24 hours.
What are some other tips for eating and drinking with Invisalign?
- Never drink hot beverages like coffee or tea while wearing your Invisalign aligners, and avoid cleaning your aligners with hot water. The heat will cause the thermoplastic material to warp, and your aligners may no longer fit correctly. If they don’t fit correctly, they won’t be able to achieve the predetermined tooth movements.
- Make sure your teeth are clean before putting your aligners in. Keep a travel toothbrush on hand, and brush your teeth after eating and then rinse your aligners off with water. If you forget your toothbrush, rinse your mouth out really well after a meal or snack, and brush when you get home.
- After drinking juice, coffee, or any beverage with sugar, rinse your mouth with water to get rid of any residue from the beverage.
- Whenever you take your aligners out to eat or drink, store them in your Invisalign case. Putting them on a table or in a napkin is a surefire way to leave them behind or accidentally toss them in trash.
- Saliva and plaque will accumulate on your aligners as you wear them. To keep them clear, fresh, and odor-free, clean your Invisalign trays in the morning and before bed. Brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush (don’t use toothpaste) and rinse them in lukewarm water. If you need a deeper clean, you can also clean them with a mild, clear, unscented dish soap, and then rinse them thoroughly.
- Brush carefully around your Invisalign attachments when you brush your teeth to remove any plaque and bacteria.
- If you do lose an Invisalign attachment or your aligners, call Fresh Orthodontics right away so we can let you know how to proceed. Depending on when your next appointment is, and where you are in your wear schedule, we may need to make you a new set of aligners or replace the attachment.
- Patients sometimes ask what foods can you not eat with Invisalign? The answer is, there are no Invisalign food restrictions. You can continue to eat whatever you’d like as long as you take your aligners out first.
- Remove your Invisalign aligners before eating or drinking anything aside from cold or room temperature, plain water. Hot water will warp the thermoplastic material.
- Avoid really hard, sticky, and chewy foods with Invisalign attachments, so they don’t get damaged.
- Brush your teeth after eating and rinse your aligners off, so that your appliance and mouth are clean when you put your aligners back in.
- Steer clear of sugary, starchy foods and beverages, or at least enjoy them in moderation, during your Invisalign treatment to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Hopefully this answers your questions about drinking and eating with Invisalign. If you’re still unsure about what you should or shouldn’t eat with clear aligners, reach out and my team and I will be happy to help. Or, if you’re ready to find out if you’re a candidate for Invisalign in Brooklyn, schedule a complimentary consultation at Fresh Orthodontics today!