Dr. Michael Handler

What You Need to Know About Eating and Drinking with Invisalign Aligners

By Dr. Michael Handler

Invisalign® is an innovative orthodontic correction system that utilizes transparent aligners rather than traditional metal braces. Developed by Align Technology, it uses highly accurate scans of natural teeth to guide the corrective process with incremental changes.

More than six million patients [1] have found Invisalign® to be a comfortable and effective system for alignment and straightening.

If you’re using Invisalign® today or considering this form of treatment, you probably have some questions about care and maintenance. One of the most common concerns is eating and drinking with Invisalign®. While traditional braces typically use stainless-steel elements that resist staining and discoloration, the clear resin used for Invisalign® is more susceptible to these problems.

To protect your smile and your aligners, here’s all you need to know about eating and drinking with Invisalign®.

Some Foods and Drinks Can Discolor Teeth and Dental Aligners

Even with good oral health, your mouth is home to billions of bacteria. Some of these bacteria feed on the sugars and starchy carbohydrates found in popular foods and drinks. It’s this activity that causes increased acidity and plaque which then leads to cavities. 

The worst foods and drinks for oral health are those that are rich in sugars. Sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks often fall into this category. These are the drinks most likely to lead to cavities and tooth decay without frequent brushing and rinsing. Likewise, sticky and sugary foods like baked goods, candy, and chocolate can also increase the risk of tooth decay.

Even drinks that aren’t rich in sugar can cause damage to your teeth. Coffee, tea, and other dark-colored drinks (such as some fruit juices) can stain your teeth over time. Pasta sauce, curry sauce, blackberries, cherries, and blueberries can also lead to staining.

When you consume different foods in moderation, you generally won’t have to worry about increased cavity risk. Frequent flossing, brushing, and the use of a dentist-approved mouthwash can help to protect your teeth. Moderation is always the key.

However, when you are using Invisalign® dental aligners, there’s something very important that you need to know…

While it’s OK to consume any type of food or drink in moderation, you should never do so while wearing Invisalign®. Some foods can discolor the aligners. Sugars and starches can become trapped between teeth and the aligners, leading to increased risk of tooth decay.

Here are some tips to get the best results from Invisalign® without putting your teeth at risk.

Always Remove Your Aligners Before Eating

Invisalign® aligners should be worn between 20 and 22 hours of each day for effective straightening. This can make your meal and drink times challenging. You will need to remove your aligners and place them in their case during meals and when drinking beverages like tea and coffee. So, it’s important to be mindful of when you are eating and drinking, and how long it is taking.

While it can be tempting to leave your aligners in for snacks and small meals, this should be avoided whenever practical.

Drink Only Water When Wearing Invisalign®

It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is the best drink to support organ function, the health of your skin, and mental performance. Water is also the only drink that you should consume without removing your Invisalign® aligners.

Unlike other drinks, water won’t cause staining and there are no sugars found in plain bottled water or tap water.

Rinse Your Mouth with Water If Eating and Drinking Away from Home

Sometimes it might not be practical to remove your aligners before a quick snack or when drinking a beverage. Many people with Invisalign® avoid removing their aligners when meeting friends for alcoholic drinks and snacks.

If you do end up having the odd snack or beverage with your aligners in, make sure that you rinse your mouth and the aligners in clean water as soon as possible. This will help to flush food debris and sugars away, helping to protect your teeth while preventing damage to your custom-formed aligners.

Maintain a Strict Flossing and Brushing Routine

Invisalign® covers your teeth completely, creating the ideal environment for bacteria, acid, and plaque. This needs to be offset with a strict flossing and brushing routine.

Floss at least once every day to remove debris and plaque that your toothbrush misses. Brush after main meals and snacks whenever possible. Use fluoride toothpaste for extra protection against cavities.

Never put your aligners in without brushing your teeth first. This can cause microcavities in the teeth due to the increased bacterial activity, which can then lead to advanced tooth decay.

With Some Simple Lifestyle Adjustments, You Can Protect Invisalign® Aligners and Your Teeth

Your dental professional will cover all of your immediate questions and concerns regarding Invisalign® aligners. In addition to their guidance, be sure to keep our tips in mind. With some simple lifestyle changes, you can prevent tooth decay, staining, and damage to your aligners.

With most treatments lasting between 12 and 18 months [2], these are small sacrifices to make to achieve a smile that can last a lifetime.


1. https://www.invisalign.com/

2. https://www.invisalign.com/frequently-asked-questions

Trademark Information

Invisalign® is a registered trademark of Align Technology Inc.

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