Can you eat with clear aligners?
There are a few benefits to wearing clear aligners to straighten your teeth, one of them being that there aren't any food restrictions like you might find with braces.
Clear aligners do not have metal brackets or wires for food particles to get stuck in. Your custom-made clear aligners will be made precisely for your mouth’s shape. Because clear aligners can be removed, you’ll be free to keep eating and drinking all the things you love.
Here, our Calgary dentists share some tips for eating with clear aligners.
Remove your clear aligners to eat or drink anything but water.
You should only drink cold water while wearing your clear aligners. Remove them before consuming foods or beverages other than water, as sipping on dark or sugary drinks while wearing your aligners can result in plaque building up.
Eating with your clear aligners in could lead to stains, cracks or other damage to your aligners. Gum will definitely stick to aligners and cause a mess (trust us on this one).
Hot beverages such as tea, hot chocolate and coffee can leave stains or discolouration that will be difficult to remove.
Brush your teeth before putting your clear aligners back in.
You should never put your clear aligners on immediately after eating or drinking since food particles can get trapped between your teeth and your aligners. Always brush your teeth and floss before putting the clear aligners back in your mouth. This will prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth and prevent the aligner from turning yellow.
Just like with braces, oral hygiene is essential to ensuring you achieve the smile you want. If you are unable to brush properly after eating or drinking, your best bet is to rinse your mouth and your aligners with water before putting them back on.
Schedule your meal times.
Though you don’t need to restrict which foods you eat, you should plan your meal times carefully. Clear aligners usually need 20 to 22 hours wear time per day, so you will want to be mindful of the total time you aren't wearing them each day.
Keep them in your mouth as much as possible for maximum results. Though you can remove the aligners when brushing, flossing, drinking and eating, try not to overdo the time they are out of your mouth, and ensure you are wearing them for at least 20 hours each day.
Cut back on snacking.
Because you have to remove your clear aligners each time you eat and then brush your teeth, you might find yourself cutting back on snacking quite a bit. On the plus side, this may encourage thoughtful eating and result in health improvements while your teeth are straightening.
You may want to put your clear aligners in and remove them in private.
Especially at the beginning of your treatment, you may want to use a restroom when removing and placing your clear aligners in your mouth. Since they fit your teeth so snugly, some patients have told us they can be a little bit challenging to remove until you get the hang of quickly popping them in and out - a task you may not want to try in public.