Can you eat while wearing Invisalign® aligners? How about chewing gum?

Eating food while wearing your invisible braces is not a good idea, for a couple of reasons.

Some patients may be tempted to try to eat without removing their Invisalign® aligners. This temptation can be especially strong for those who have just switched to a new, tight-fitting set of aligners that are hard or painful to take out.

More about wearing Invisalign®.

Eating with Invisalign, however, is not a good idea for a couple of reasons (neither is chewing gum). In fact, having Invisalign® treatment can be expected to have an effect on the way you eat, at least to some degree. (Tips for relieving eating pain caused by Invisalign® treatment.)

Why you shouldn't eat with Invisalign®.

A) You may damage your aligners.

Invisalign® aligners are constructed out of thin plastic and if you expose them to chewing forces, it's quite possible that you will damage them.

You might wear a hole through the aligner or you could crack, bend or otherwise distort it. Any one of these types of damage might affect the fit of the aligner, thus making it less capable of guiding your teeth as planned, or worse, allowing your teeth to move in unexpected ways.

B) You'll probably find that eating with Invisalign® is not very easy.

If you do try to eat while wearing your removable braces, it is unlikely that you will find the experience very easy or satisfying.

During some stages of treatment you may discover that the way your teeth come together is not an alignment that is very suited for chewing. You may also find that food wants to stick to or gum up on your aligners. You may get away with eating like this at home but in public, forget it.

C) You'll still need to clean your teeth and aligners.

Once you've finished eating, you'll still need to remove your aligners to clean them. Any debris that accumulates in your aligners will be unsightly and foul. And if your aligners are not cleansed regularly and thoroughly, the food debris and associated dental plaque that accumulates in them could place your teeth at risk for cavities.

Can you chew gum while wearing clear braces?

You'll find that chewing gum with Invisalign® isn't a good idea. The gum will tend to stick to the aligners' surface. It will be time consuming and messy to remove.

Having Invisalign® treatment will likely change the way you eat.

One of the great conveniences of having Invisalign® treatment is that you can simply take your braces (the aligners) out. That means, especially as compared to traditional braces, your eating activities, including the types of food you consume, may not have to change much all that much. However, despite this convenience, most patients will still find that they need to alter their eating habits at least a little bit.

You may decide to eat less frequently.

Having Invisalign® treatment may change your mind about how often you decide to eat. After every meal you'll need to clean both your teeth and aligners, and you'll find that this takes a bit of time and effort. To make your life simpler, you may decide to change your eating habits from frequent snacking to a routine of larger, less frequent, meals. (This change may, or may not, be a favorable factor in maintaining your chosen weight.)

At times, relatively softer foods may be the better choice.

There will be times (especially during those first few days when you switch to a new set of aligners) when you find that your teeth are especially tender and sore. During these periods you may find that you should shy away from hard foods (that require more biting pressure) in favor of relatively softer foods.

Remedies for discomfort associated with eating.

Here are two suggestions for Invisalign® patients who find that they experience (at least from time to time) a great deal of tenderness when trying to eat.

  • Start the use of each new set of aligners at bedtime. This way your teeth will have several hours to get used to the fit of the new aligners, and settle down, before your next meal.
  • Taking an anti-inflammatory analgesic (ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil) an hour before meals can help to minimize the amount of tenderness your experience while eating. (Read the label of the product you choose so to make sure it is an appropriate medication for you.)
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