Knowing what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to eating and Invisalign can make a difference. Follow the simple rules to help contribute to a hassle-free Invisalign journey with an ideal outcome.
6 Do’s of Eating with Invisalign
Your orthodontist is likely to run through all of these with you once you begin treatment, but here are some best practices you can take up when it comes to eating with Invisalign or other clear aligners.
#1 Drink Water
Only drink cold or room temperature water while wearing Invisalign or other clear aligners. Hot or boiling water can melt or change the shape of your aligners, even while wearing them. If you’d like to enjoy other beverages, such as soft drinks and sparkling water, it’s best to remove your aligners while consuming.
#2 Return Aligners to Their Case While Eating
It’s tempting to take the Invisalign out and put it on the table in a tissue or napkin, but Invisalign is very lightweight and transparent, which makes it more likely to be lost when out of the case. By returning your aligners to their protective case, it’s less likely they will accidentally end up in the rubbish bin. When you use a set of aligners, it takes time and money to replace them. You also run the risk of your teeth moving out of place in the time it takes to get a replacement set. Always remember where you put your aligners so they aren’t misplaced.
#3 Brush Your Teeth After Eating
After eating, everyone has small food particles in between their teeth and gum. Saliva removes some of these particles and others remain until the next time you brush and floss. However, if you put your Invisalign trays back in, the food remains trapped. There’s no saliva to help with bacteria levels in the mouth, meaning the bacteria is able to multiply around the teeth. If it’s not possible to brush your teeth after eating, the next best thing to do is rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
#4 Continue with the Same Diet
Unlike braces, you don’t have to make changes to your diet. You need to remove Invisalign before eating, so you don’t need to worry about cutting your food into smaller pieces or cutting out foods that are too hard, too crunchy or sticky. If your teeth aren’t feeling tender after new trays, you can eat and drink whatever you like as long as you clean your teeth soon after.
#5 Clean Your Invisalign
Even if you’re vigilant about cleaning your teeth between eating and putting your Invisalign back in, your aligners still need cleaning. Bacteria can build in all the crooks and crannies of the aligners, trapping it against your teeth and gums. Clean your Invisalign with a soft toothbrush and water rather than toothpaste, as it is too abrasive for the thin plastic.
#6 See Your Dentist Regularly
Even though you will see your orthodontist regularly, it’s important you see your dentist every six months for a professional clean. If you aren’t brushing and flossing after every meal, placing your Invisalign back in means you’re at greater risk of tooth decay, because the Invisalign traps bacteria on the surfaces of teeth and gums.
3 Don’ts of Eating with Invisalign
Just as there are things that you should do when it comes to eating with Invisalign, it’s equally important to understand the things you shouldn’t do.
#1 Don’t Eat Any Food While Wearing Aligners
It doesn’t matter how small or soft the food may seem, eating while wearing aligners is risky. Food can damage the trays and may require a replacement set. Food and drinks other than water can also stain the thin plastic. Once Invisalign is stained, it’s very difficult to remove without damaging them.
#2 Don’t Forget to Put Your Invisalign Back In
Invisalign only works when it is in your mouth for at least 22 hours per day. The other two hours are for eating meals and snacks and cleaning your teeth. It’s easy to finish a meal and forget to put your Invisalign back in, or think you’ll wait a short while before having the second course which then turns into an hour. Be conscious that you need to eat the meal at once and put your Invisalign back in. If you leave it too long, you won’t achieve the 22 hours of wear per day. Once or twice may not make much difference, but if you regularly don’t hit the 22 hour goal, you may not achieve the best outcome for your teeth.
#3 Don’t Leave Invisalign Within Reach of Pets at Mealtimes
Dogs like nothing better than snacking on a set of Invisalign. Even if you’ve just fed your dog, they’ll probably find the smell of your Invisalign too irresistible for a sniff and chew. Always place the Invisalign in their case while eating and ideally keep it out of reach of any pets, because even the case is no barrier for some dogs!
For more information on how to make the most out of your Invisalign/clear aligner treatment, please call your nearest clinic. Alternatively, if you’d like to consult an orthodontist about suitability for Invisalign or to begin treatment, you can book an appointment online.