Unlike braces, clear aligners are both invisible and removable. Because you remove your aligners when you eat, there is more freedom of what you can eat. However, there are still some guidelines for eating with clear aligners.
As New Years is traditional for making resolutions, we hope you make these guidelines part of your daily habits.
Do not eat any food or drinks (other than water) with your aligners in your mouth.
Your clear aligner trays are made of durable plastic, but they’re not indestructible. The force used to chew food can bend or break them. Extreme temperatures can also harm them, which is part of the reason why beverages are off-limits. Drinking anything other than water can also stain the clear plastic.
Store your clear aligners in the case we gave you while you’re eating or not wearing it.
Your case keeps your aligners secure at home and on the road. There are many reasons why it is important to put your aligners in their case when you are eating or not wearing them.
- Firstly, if you just put them in a pocket, purse, or wrapped up in a napkin, they can be forgotten about and lost or accidentally thrown away.
- Secondly, they can become damaged when you don’t put them in their case. Also, they get exposed to bacteria, and if you do not thoroughly clean them before putting them back in, all those germs go straight into your mouth.
- Lastly, if you have or are around pets, know that both cats and dogs could become attracted to them.
Dogs are especially attracted to your saliva and therefore, are often attracted to clear aligners left around. It is not certain why this is so. Some believe they are attracted to human saliva (like when they lick your face) because it’s a form of affection and communication. Dogs commonly do this with members of their pack, including humans. Saliva also consists of magnesium, calcium, and bicarbonate, which can attract dogs.
In any case, you don’t want your dog getting attracted to and chewing or swallowing your aligners! Your case can help prevent this from happening.
Avoid Eating Sticky or Chewy Foods or Sugary Beverages.
While going through your treatment, you should avoid sticky and chewy foods like chips, toffee, licorice, chewing gum, hard candy, and caramel. These snacks can easily get stuck between your teeth and aligners, making it challenging to maintain clean teeth and aligners even when thoroughly brushing. Limit sugary beverages as they can cause staining on the aligner trays over time.
Brush Your Teeth After Eating and Before Placing Aligners Back in Your Mouth.
Brushing your teeth after meals is essential to keeping your teeth and clear aligners clean, which helps prevent plaque buildup, bad breath, and cavities that can potentially cause gum disease and discoloration of the aligners. Make sure to brush gently but thoroughly around all your teeth and aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush. For optimal cleaning, after brushing, rinse your trays with lukewarm water before reinserting them into your mouth.
Drink Plenty of Water and Rinse After Eating.
Drinking plenty of water is essential to keeping your aligners functioning correctly. Here are the top reasons to choose water as your drink of choice:
- Water helps to wash away harmful bacteria.
- Drinking water helps rinse away food particles that otherwise would break down and become a source for bacteria to feed on and multiply.
- Water keeps you hydrated. When a mouth is dry, it provides an ideal environment for bacteria to stick around.On the other hand, drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps increase saliva production and protect your mouth from bacteria around the clock.
- There is no sugar or calories in water. And there are lots of sugar-free flavored waters on the market today if you want some taste in your water.
By making the above guidelines part of your daily habits, you’ll better protect your teeth and your aligners while on your journey to straighten your teeth. And, at McDonough Orthodontics, that’s important to us!
If you don’t have clear aligners yet but are considering becoming a clear aligner patient, please visit our website and call us today!
Happy New Year!
Your Friendly Team at