Invisalign is an increasingly popular orthodontic treatment. It consists of clear plastic aligners similar to retainers that fit over the teeth and shift them into the proper position. Unlike braces, Invisalign aligners are removable, which often results in a common question: can you eat with Invisalign? Here’s what orthodontists recommend regarding eating and drinking habits while undergoing Invisalign treatment.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign treatment involves wearing a series of clear plastic aligners over your teeth. They are virtually invisible and each one is slightly different from the last to gradually shift your teeth into alignment. You wear each aligner for about 2 weeks, then switch to the next in order until you have worn the complete set. At the end of your treatment, your teeth and bite should be properly positioned for optimal dental health and an improved smile.
Why You Should Not Eat While Wearing Your Aligners
The aligners are removable so that you can take them out when you eat and clean your teeth. It is recommended that you remove them when you eat for the following reasons:
- Food can get under your aligners. When you eat while wearing your aligners, food particles can get under them and remain stuck there until you remove them and clean under them. Not only does this look unsightly, but it is not good for your dental health.
- Increased risk of tooth decay. Food that gets stuck between your aligners and your teeth can cause tooth decay. The trapped food leads to an increase of bacteria that can eat away at your tooth enamel, causing cavities.
- The aligners can become stained. There are many foods and beverages that are capable of staining your teeth, and they can also stain your aligners. One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign is that the aligners are essentially invisible against your teeth, but not if they are stained from food.
- Ineffective chewing. The smooth plastic of your aligners is not effective at chewing food the way your natural teeth are. You may find that you can’t eat very well with them in.
- Damage. Chewing food while wearing your aligners can damage the aligners.
Are There Any Food Restrictions?
There are no food restrictions during Invisalign treatment as long as you take your aligners out when you eat. Unlike braces that are fixed to the teeth and may be damaged by certain foods, Invisalign does not pose a problem when it comes to eating.
Can You Drink While Wearing Your Aligners?
Although drinking does not require chewing, it is still recommended that you don’t drink anything with your aligners except for water. This is because the sugar and acids in beverages can seep in between your aligners and your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Many beverages can also stain your aligners as well as your teeth, so it is best to remove your aligners if you’re going to be drinking coffee, tea, soft drinks, sports drinks, juice, or any other beverage that is not clear.
Cleaning Your Aligners
Now that we’ve established that you shouldn’t eat or drink anything other than water while wearing your aligners, it is important to note that your aligners still need to be cleaned daily. If possible, rinse your aligners with water when you remove them to eat or drink. Brush your aligners with clear, unscented soap and a soft bristled toothbrush at night before you go to bed and in the morning. This will remove any food residue and plaque that may form on your aligners throughout the day to keep them smelling fresh and to prevent tooth decay.
Get Started With Invisalign Today
Are you interested in Invisalign? This discreet teeth straightening system can improve your dental health and your smile in as little as 6 months to a year. Demko Orthodontics can perform a brief evaluation to determine if Invisalign is right for you.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.