One of the biggest perks of Invisalign is that it straightens your teeth without restricting your diet. Unlike traditional braces-wearers, your invisible aligners are removable, so you are able to eat whatever foods you want without worrying about lettuce getting stuck in your brackets, a pizza crust tearing a wire out of place, or chocolate cake nesting in between all the metalware. There are some eating habits, however, that you will want to avoid while wearing Invisalign so that your treatment goes as planned, and so your aligners don’t end up becoming discolored. For some people, these vices can be hard to break. The benefits, though, are well worth the effort. Ultimately, you will have a beautifully aligned smile that wasn’t compromised by your need for a snack or a certain kind of beverage.
1. Slim down the morning coffee.
If you rely on coffee as the pick-me-up that gets your day started, that’s fine. Drink your cup of joe with breakfast. But know this: You won’t be able to sip on your favorite blend all morning long while wearing Invisalign. If you don’t remove the aligners, they’ll quickly become stained – any drink or food that can stain your teeth will also stain your aligners. Learn to love water, because it’s the safest and only beverage you should be drinking while wearing Invisalign.
2. Build snacks and drinks into your day.
Because Invisalign must be worn 20 to 22 hours a day for the treatment to be effective, you’ll have to be a bit speedy about your meals and snacks. If you are someone who can’t imagine not having a mid-morning tea break or a post-work glass of wine, go ahead and do so. But you will want to keep tabs on the amount of time that Invisalign is off of your teeth so that you don’t go under the 20-hour mark.
3. Be prepared to brush more often.
You’ll want to give your aligners a clean territory on which to reside for the next several hours so, after your meal or snack, brush your teeth. Keep small travel toothbrushes handy for use throughout your day. After all, your aligners and enamel spend a lot of time very close together – both surfaces should be as clean as possible before going on “lockdown” for a little while so that your aligners stay clean and clear and your teeth cavity-free.
4. Steer clear of snacking.
Invisalign is unnoticeable to others, but it is a constant presence in your mouth and, as such, you have to be far more mindful of everything that you put in your mouth, and this includes snacks. You might be inclined to mindlessly grab a candy bar or salty snack midday, but with Invisalign in your mouth you’ll be more likely to think, “Do I really want to take my aligners out again? And brush afterward again when I just brushed after lunch? Do I really need this snack after all?” Being mindful about your diet is a good thing anyway – so thank you, Invisalign!
5. Say no to gum.
Gum is a complete no-no when you’re wearing Invisalign. The stickiness will impair the orthodontic treatment, get stuck to your aligners, and easily damage them because of the gum’s properties and the constant chewing motion.
6. Don’t eat with your aligners in your mouth.
You may be tempted to pop in a snack while you’re wearing Invisalign. “It’s just one little piece of candy. I’ve earned it,” you might rationalize. But if you expose your aligners to the strong chewing forces that your teeth are trained to exert, you can damage or even crack your aligners, plus it’s just messy and not easy to eat with Invisalign in your mouth. And you still have to clean your aligners no matter what. Why take a chance?
Ready to find out if Invisalign is right for you? Make your appointment with Dr. Carole Sherrod Jewell, a certified Invisalign provider at Red Bank Dentistry.