Using Invisalign aligners to straighten your teeth is generally quite comfortable and easy to live with. They require little maintenance and should fit your mouth comfortably, thanks to the many precise measurements taken by your dentist. However, there is one aspect of using Invisalign aligners that can be tricky: eating and drinking. In fact, the only time you’re required to take your aligners out is to eat or drink, as chewing will damage the trays and beverages can stain or warp them.
Some people choose to look on the bright side of these challenges. Since you need to take out your Invisalign aligners before eating, many people cut down on or quit snacking altogether. This often leads to healthier eating habits and, for some users, weight loss. While that can be a plus for some Invisalign users, it can also be a pain for those who aren’t looking to curb their eating. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to make eating and drinking with Invisalign a little bit easier.
Plan Your Meals in Advance
Ideally, you should be wearing your Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours every day, leaving only 2 hours to eat and drink. This is usually plenty of time unless you’re going out to a restaurant with slow service or an elaborate, multi-course meal. To avoid wasting time, plan your meals in advance and make the most of them. If you’re eating at home, prep your meals before you take out your Invisalign trays so you don’t waste time. Most importantly, plan ahead when you’ll be eating out and choose places with efficient service. This way, you can enjoy your meal without watching the clock.
Use Your Invisalign Storage Case
When you’re eating, make sure that you place your Invisalign aligners in a storage case that’s designed for it. Although the aligners are strong enough to straighten your teeth, they’re also fragile enough to be destroyed with improper care. Keeping your Invisalign trays in their storage case will keep them safe and minimize the chances of losing or forgetting them after you’re done eating. If you’re at home, you can also use this opportunity to soak your trays. This way they’ll be even cleaner and brighter after you’re done with your meal.
Carry a Travel Toothbrush and Floss
After you’re finished eating, it’s crucial that you brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before replacing your Invisalign aligners. Any bits of material that are left in your teeth will be stuck underneath the trays, in an environment that’s perfect for creating cavities and staining teeth. When you’re at home, brushing and flossing after meals is a no-brainer. Make it equally easy when you’re out and about by always carrying a travel toothbrush and dental floss. If you absolutely can’t get away to brush your teeth after eating, at least rinse your mouth out with water before replacing the aligners. Then, brush and floss as soon as you get home.
Drink Water Throughout the Day
While hot liquids can warp your Invisalign aligners and sugary drinks can pool in them, damaging your teeth, drinking water is not only OK with Invisalign, it’s encouraged. This is especially true when you’re first adjusting to wearing the trays, which may cause some extra saliva production. When you drink water throughout the day, not only do you stay hydrated, you also keep the trays clean as well as the teeth inside them. Sipping water will also help you avoid the urge to snack.
Choose Foods and Drinks that Don’t Stain
Some foods and drinks are worse than others when it comes to staining your teeth and your Invisalign aligners. Dark drinks like wine, coffee, and fruit juices are the worse culprits for staining, as are foods with similarly dark ingredients. Additionally, some foods have small bits of material that are more likely to get stuck between your teeth. Not only will these stain your teeth if not cleaned off promptly, they’ll also stain your Invisalign aligners. If you do eat something that will stain your teeth, be sure to rinse, brush and floss thoroughly before replacing your aligners.