Some Things You Can–and Can’t–Do With Invisalign

Some Things You Can–and Can’t–Do With Invisalign

Choosing to straighten your teeth with Invisalign is a big step toward achieving a beautiful new smile. But even after opting for clear aligners over traditional braces, you may be wondering what you can do with Invisalign and how your everyday life will be affected. Your orthodontist will tell you what is allowed and what to avoid, but it may help to have a cheat sheet with answers to your questions.

6 Common Questions About What You Can Do with Invisalign

Can I Eat with Invisalign?

Aligners must be removed before every meal or snack, as they are not made to withstand the pressure of chewing and can crack or break. However, once you take them out, you can eat virtually anything you want! Healthy, crunchy foods like nuts and carrots are fine, and it’s also okay to bite down on whole fruits like apples and pears — something that isn’t possible when wearing braces. 

Of course, it’s always best to avoid sugary and sticky foods that cause bacteria to breed on your teeth. But what you can do with Invisalign is just make sure you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss with you at all times so you can clean your teeth before putting trays back in. 

Can I Chew Gum with Invisalign?

As long as the trays are taken out, it’s okay to chew gum with Invisalign as long as you brush your teeth before putting them back in. Even though gum is not food, it can still leave sugar on the teeth. It’s also important to keep in mind that Invisalign must be worn 20-22 hours per day to work effectively. Removing trays just to chew gum could mean leaving them on longer during other parts of the day.  

Can I Drink Coffee with Invisalign?

You can drink coffee, but trays must be removed when you drink anything besides water. This is because:   

Beverages will stain trays. The invisible look of Invisalign can quickly become dingy after drinking coffee as well as red wine, cranberry juice, and other staining beverages. 

Cavities can settle in. Water is the only liquid that doesn’t contain sugar or acids. Even diet soda and clear, carbonated beverages are acidic. When sugar or acid gets trapped under trays, saliva can’t naturally rinse it away. As time passes, decay will attack the tooth enamel, causing cavities.

Odors will linger on trays. Coffee causes bad breath even when not wearing Invisalign, so you can imagine how your breath will smell when it sticks to plastic. Even when drinking sweet-smelling juices and sodas, the sugar and acid left on trays will eventually become rancid. This can leave you with bad breath even after brushing and flossing your teeth.  

Extreme heat can warp trays. Invisalign treatment works because the precise shape of each tray moves the teeth into alignment. Drinking hot beverages can soften the plastic, making them warp or change shape. This can interfere with the desired movement of the teeth and disrupt the treatment plan. 

Can I Clean Invisalign Trays with Toothpaste?

Even if you are diligent about brushing and flossing your teeth before putting trays back in, it’s still important to thoroughly clean the trays themselves. Invisalign aligners are made of thin plastic and can be damaged easily, so it’s best to use a product made specifically to clean and sterilize them, as well as a soft-bristled brush that won’t scratch them. 

If you run out of cleaner or don’t have it with you, what you can do with Invisalign is find a clear liquid dish or hand soap and just rinse it well. Anything else is too harsh for cleaning aligners, including toothpaste, mouthwash, denture cleaner, and tinted or dyed soaps. And don’t be tempted to use hot water to clean trays; just like hot beverages, the heat can soften the plastic and make the aligners less effective.

Can I Smoke with Invisalign?

Smoking with Invisalign in will certainly cause yellowing of the trays. While it’s possible to smoke after removing the aligners, there are multiple reasons not to.

First, it takes time away from the 20-22 hours that the aligners need to be in. If you are a chronic smoker, taking the trays out every time you smoke could make treatment take longer.

Second, the nicotine from cigarettes will settle on the teeth before placing trays back in. This causes a breeding ground for bacteria and can eventually lead to tooth decay.

Third, smoking causes bones to break down faster. While this can increase the speed at which teeth move into place, it also takes longer for bones to harden, allowing the teeth to shift back out of place once treatment is over. Smoking also puts you at risk for losing teeth because it causes the body to break down and absorb the tooth’s root. 

Will Invisalign Affect My Speech?

It will take some time to get used to wearing Invisalign when you talk. The trays rest against the back of your front teeth, which is where your tongue goes to make the “s”, “sh”, and “z” sounds. One study from the International Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics found that patients typically return to their baseline speech about 2 months into Invisalign treatment. Just remember that while you may sound a little different at first, more than 12.8 million people have also gone through the same thing on their journey to straighter teeth!  

Have More Concerns About What You Can Do With Invisalign? Contact a Dentist or Orthodontist Near You

In recent years, Invisalign has gained tremendous popularity because it lets patients keep enjoying the things they love while discretely straightening their teeth. Most orthodontists find that Invisalign is highly effective for those who have mild to moderate misalignments, but the best way to know if Invisalign is right for you is to schedule an appointment with a professional. You can find a listing of orthodontists near you on our website.