Because clear aligners are removable, you’ll enjoy not having dietary restrictions during your treatment. But today, our Lethbridge dentists explain some other things you should know about eating and drinking with clear aligners.
Eating While Undergoing Treatment With Clear Aligners
One of the main benefits of straightening your teeth with clear aligners is that you won’t need to restrict your diet.
Unlike traditional braces, there are no metal brackets or wires for food particles to get stuck in between. Your custom-made clear aligners will be made precisely for your mouth’s shape and can be removed, so you’ll be free to keep eating and drinking all the things you love.
Here, our Lethbridge 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 between the aligner and your teeth.
Eating with your clear aligners in could lead to stains, cracks, or other damage to your aligners. Gum will 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. The heat from some hot beverages can cause the plastic to warp which can render the aligner useless.
Brush your teeth before putting your clear aligners back in.
You should never place your clear aligners in your mouth after eating without first brushing your teeth, since food particles can get trapped between your teeth and your aligners and cause bacteria to grow, which will increase your risk of cavities and tooth decay.
Just like with braces, oral hygiene is essential to ensure 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 your teeth.
Schedule your meal times.
Though you don’t need to restrict which foods you eat, you should plan your meal times carefully.
To hit the 20 to 22 hours per day wear time you need with clear aligners, you’ll want to be mindful of the total time that you remove them for each day.
To see the best results, you should keep them in your mouth as much as possible. 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.
If for medical or lifestyle reasons you can't schedule your meals and oral hygiene in the time allotted then you may want to consider alternative orthodontic treatments.
Cut back on snacking.
Because you have to remove your clear aligners each time you eat and then brush your teeth, you’ll probably find yourself cutting back on snacking quite a bit and being more thoughtful about what you eat as well as when you eat.
On the plus side, you may see your health improve along with your teeth becoming straighter.
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.