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

Why you shouldn't eat while wearing your aligners. | How having Invisalign® may change your eating habits. | Solutions for minimizing eating discomfort.

Eating while wearing your aligners is not a good idea, for a couple of reasons.

You might be inclined to eat without removing your Invisalign® aligners first. This temptation can be especially strong if you've just switched to a new, tight-fitting set that's difficult, and possibly painful, to take out.

But as you'll read below, doing so isn't a good idea, for a number of reasons. And, by the way, neither is chewing gum.

Beyond that issue, this page also discusses how having Invisalign® treatment will likely affect the way that you eat.

And it gives tips about things you can do to help to minimize the amount of pain you do end up experiencing when eating.

1) Why you shouldn't eat with Invisalign® in place.

a) You might damage your aligners.

Invisalign® tooth aligners are constructed out of thin plastic. And if you expose them to chewing forces, it's possible to damage them. For example, you might wear a hole through one of your appliances or crack, bend or otherwise distort it.

Every aligner is important.

Any type of damage can compromise an aligner's fit, thus making it impossible for it to accomplish the specific tooth movements it was intended to make.

If that's the case, it will have to be replaced because a patient's series of Invisalign® aligners doesn't come with spares. You'll have to have a new one made (added effort, expense and treatment delay).

What's wearing
Invisalign® like?

b) Eating with Invisalign® in place isn't very easy.

If you do try to eat food while wearing your removable braces, it's unlikely that you'll find the experience very easy or satisfying. You'll probably find that the food wants to stick to or gum up around your aligners.

You may get away with eating like this at home. But creating a spectacle like this while out in public, forget it.

c) You'll still need to clean your aligners.

Even if you don't take your aligners out before eating, once you've finished you'll still have to remove them so they can be cleaned (along with your teeth too).

If you don't, any debris that's accumulated will be unsightly and foul. And if your aligners are not cleansed regularly and thoroughly, the food debris and associated dental plaque that accumulates inside them can place your teeth at risk for cavities.

Why do some dentists say it's OK to eat with your aligners in place?

Despite the precautions we've mentioned above, some dentists specifically tell their patients that it's alright for them to wear their aligners when they eat, and in fact they should.

While this recommendation may seem curious to you (considering the risks involved), doing so can provide some benefits. They include:

  • You'll wear your aligners a little more each day. - While the amount of time you spend eating may not be a lot, anytime your aligners aren't being worn your case can't progress. So by eating with them in, you'll gain a little extra treatment time each day.
  • Chewing with your aligners in place helps them to seat better. - It's the fit of your aligners over your teeth that creates and directs tooth movements. And the pressure you place on them as you eat forces them down onto your teeth and helps to insure this fit. As a result, your case will tend to progress more rapidly and predictably.

2) Can you chew gum while wearing Invisalign®?

You'll find that chewing gum with your aligners in place makes a poor choice.

  • The gum will tend to stick to their surface. It will be time consuming and messy to remove.
  • In no way were your aligners designed to withstand the kind of abuse that chewing gum creates. And doing so will likely end up ruining one or both of them.

    (Keep in mind, if you damage even just one aligner, replacing it is an involved and costly process.)

3) Wearing Invisalign® will likely change the way that you eat.

One of the great conveniences of having Invisalign® treatment is that you can simply take your braces (the aligners) out.

And that means, especially as compared to traditional braces, your eating activities may not have to change all that drastically. However, despite this convenience, most patients still find that they need to alter their standard eating habits at least a little.

a) You may decide to eat less frequently.

Having Invisalign® may change your mind about how often you decide to eat. That's because after every meal you'll need to clean both your teeth and aligners, and that can take a bit of time and effort.

So to make your life simpler, you may decide to change your eating habits from frequent snacking to a routine of larger, less frequent, meals.

b) At times, softer foods may be needed.

Over the course of your treatment process, you'll probably find that there are times when your teeth are especially tender and sore. (Like during those first few days when you switch to a new set of aligners.)

During these periods, you may need to shy away from hard foods (that require relatively more biting pressure) in favor of comparatively softer foods.

4) Suggestions for minimizing eating discomfort.

Here are two ideas for Invisalign® patients who find that they experience (at least from time to time) tenderness with their teeth 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 their fit, 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 you 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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my orthadontist told me to eat with them in because it cuts down treatment time by 45%


We've added a section above that explains the advantages that your dentist is trying to gain by having you wear your aligners when you eat. Just remember, as discussed above, there are risks associated with doing so, so keep them in mind so you don't cause yourself some problems.

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