Invisalign, the discreet alternative to traditional braces, has revolutionised orthodontic treatment. While clear aligners offer the convenience of removability, many users are uncertain about which drinks are safe to consume while wearing them.
Knowing which beverages won't harm your aligners or compromise oral health is crucial for any Invisalign wearer.
Why Does it Matter?
There are four main reasons why it's important to pay attention to what you drink - and how - during Invisalign treatment:
1. Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene
Highly-acidic or sugary drinks pose a threat to dental health at the best of times, let alone whilst undergoing Invisalign treatment.
The added risk is related to the fact that if you forget to remove your aligners first, or replace your aligners without properly rinsing and cleaning your teeth, residue from your beverage can end up trapped between your teeth and/or gums, and your aligners. This can contribute to dental erosion, bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Furthermore, this risk is magnified because saliva, which typically flows freely around your teeth, is obstructed by the aligners. As a result, it's less effective at flushing out any remnants and maintaining a balanced pH, which is disrupted by any beverage residue and any resulting plaque accumulation.
Some common, notable offenders (from a dental health perspective) are:
Flavoured soda and soft drink (fizzy drinks)
Wine - especially where especially sweet or acidic
What about Sports Drinks?
Unfortunately, despite their association with health and fitness, from a dental health perspective, sports drinks are generally not recommended whilst undergoing Invisalign treatment.
Similarly to soda and soft drinks, sports drinks commonly have elevated levels or acid, sugar or both. Unless you have a medical professional has advised you otherwise, plain water is generally the best way to stay hydrated during regular exercise.
Minimising the Risks during Invisalign Treatment
If you do make the choice to occasionally indulge in an acidic or sugary drink during Invisalign treatment, we have some tips on how that might be managed in such a way as to reduce harm as far as possible.
Be sure to carry your Invisalign case: You're much more likely to remove your aligners before drinking if you have somewhere safe to store them! You're also much less likely to lose or damage them if they are stored correctly.
Post-drink rinse: Rinsing is a simple yet effective mitigation against the enamel damage and staining that drinks other than water can cause.
Carry a small oral hygiene kit: Make oral care on the go easy with a small kit including a travel-sized toothbrush, paste, floss. For rinse-ready oral care on the fly, include a small bottle of water in your kit.
Know your Environment: Plan ahead for a convenient place to remove your aligners before and after your drink (and meal, if applicable), e.g., make sure you know where nearby restrooms are located.
Communicate with your friends and colleagues: Sometimes people are tempted to leave their aligners in, or leave them out for extended periods, simply because it feels awkward to go about your usual care routine in the company of others. To help ensure you feel more comfortable, we recommend being upfront, and letting those closest to you know that you're undergoing orthodontic treatment.
2. Protecting your Invisalign Aligners from Damage
The second reason paying attention to drinking with Invisalign is important is to avoid causing damage to your aligners.
The two biggest threats are excessive temperatures, and strong dark-coloured pigments:
Colour: Dark-coloured beverages have a higher potential to cause staining. Examples include red wine, cola, tea and coffee (especially black tea and black coffee).
Temperature: Hot beverages might warp or bend the aligners out of shape. Again, tea and coffee are the main culprits here.
You can still enjoy most of your favourite drinks, however removing your aligners (and thoroughly rinsing your mouth and cleaning your teeth prior to replacing them) is recommended for everything except for plain water.
This brings us to our third reason why it's important to think about what (and when!) you drink during Invisalign treatment:
3. Consistent, Sufficient Invisalign Wear
So, if it is recommended that your remove your aligners for most drinks other than plain water (with the understanding that you'll need to engage in a cleaning routine immediately afterwards) - you can see how this could be a disincentive against wearing your aligners for the recommended 22 hours a day. We'll use some common examples to explore this further:
The Hot Beverage Dilemma
For many of us, prior to commencing Invisalign treatment we may have developed a routine which includes a mid-morning hot beverage (or two!).
This issue is that frequent sippers who remove their aligners many times a day for tea and coffee may find that overall treatment time is extended, or that overall results are compromised. This may occur simply because aligner wear-time is insufficient to ensure that orthodontic treatment progresses as intended.
Planning for Invisalign Success while Still Enjoying Tea and Coffee
A careful, balanced approach can allow you to enjoy these beverages without compromising your treatment.
Ideally, if you are keen to still enjoy a regular cup of tea and coffee, it is advisable to remove your aligners, and combine this with a meal where possible (e.g., breakfast and/or lunch). Consuming food and drinks in the one sitting means that you can limit overall time with the aligners out, and then focus on cleaning your teeth properly afterwards, prior to replacing your aligners.
Social Functions, Drinking and Invisalign Treatment
Another real-life challenge for many is navigating occasional special occasions during Invisalign treatment. Social gatherings often come with the temptation of frequent snacks and drinks. Generally, it is wise to remove your aligners before consuming alcoholic drinks, for example:
This general advice also applies to most non-alcoholic beverages on offer at social functions, including fruit juice, mocktails, and flavoured soda and soft-drinks (fizzy drinks).
When considering how to manage your aligners in the event of a rare special occasion, it’s important to strike a balance, and be realistic about what you'll be able to achieve - in terms of either resisting constant sipping and snacking, limiting yourself to plain water between meals, or alternatively taking the aligners in and out over a relatively short period of time.
Although Invisalign typically requires around 22 hours of daily wear for effective treatment, on the rare occasion, it might be more practical to leave your Invisalign aligners in their case for a few hours during an event, rather than repeatedly removing and potentially misplacing them.
Notwithstanding this, it’s crucial to be honest with yourself, and make this an infrequent, very occasional choice to avoid any significant delay in your treatment progress.
Remember, consistency is key to achieving the desired results with Invisalign!
4. Staying Hydrated Overall
The fourth and final reason why it is important to think about what you drink with Invisalign is in order to stay hydrated during your orthodontic treatment. With the need to factor-in some restrictions, without prior planning, you might find yourself drinking less than usual.
If you weren't much of a plain water drinker prior to your Invisalign treatment, it is important to work up towards drinking more, especially if you've now cut down on other types of drinks as recommended above.
Drinking Water with Invisalign
Water is your best friend when it comes to hydration with Invisalign! You can sip it throughout the day without any risk to your aligners. There's no need to take them out, and no need to clean your teeth afterwards.
For optimal oral health and aligner maintenance — avoid the temptation to include additives like lemon, which can be acidic, or sugar, which can contribute to plaque build-up.
If you're someone who struggles with unflavoured water, try increasing your intake gradually or setting regular reminders to take a sip. Keeping a water bottle by your desk during the day can help. Your teeth and aligners will thank you.
Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice
Prepare for success by getting in the habit of taking your portable water bottle out and about with you during the day. This way, you're unlikely to find yourself queuing up for a drink, and "accidentally" purchasing a milkshake instead of a plain water.
If it makes you feel any better, remember that your choice is also a positive one for environmental sustainability!
The Occasional Drink with Invisalign in
We understand that life sometimes gets in the way, and you may not always be in a position to remove your aligners in some circumstances. If you must drink a beverage other than plain water with your aligners in, here are some tips to reduce associated risks and inconveniences:
Opt for a straw: Using a straw can help minimise contact between the beverage and your teeth and aligners, although it's not a foolproof solution.
Choosing Straws: Select reusable or biodegradable straws to align with environmentally conscious practices.
Weigh-up your options: Examples include lightly-flavoured sodas, or sugar-free sodas and soft drinks (remembering however, that these drinks are still potentially harmful, especially if highly acidic).
Clear colours: If you find yourself with limited options and can't remove your aligners (or know you'll need to put them back in without immediately rinsing and cleaning), in addition to steering clear of sugar, you may be best to opt for a clear or lighter-coloured options (to reduce the likelihood of staining).
Don't forget to keep it cool: Stick to cold or room-temperature beverages to protect the integrity of your aligners.
Oops, what now? - minimising the damage: So, you've had a slip up and indulged in a non-plain water beverage with your aligners in. Even if you can't brush right away, rinse your aligners as soon as you can, sip plain water, and swish it around your mouth can dilute and wash away sugars, acids and pigments from your drinks.
Remember, the best practice is to remove your Invisalign before drinking anything other than plain water. If that's not possible, make sure to rinse or brush as soon as possible before reinserting your aligners.
What can you drink with Invisalign? Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have to Take Out My Invisalign to Drink?
For anything other than cool or room-temperature water, removing Invisalign aligners before drinking is the safest bet to avoid compromising oral health, or damaging the aligners.
Can You Drink with Invisalign Through a Straw?
While a straw reduces some risks, it does not completely eliminate them, and should not be considered a replacement for following recommended practices.
Can I Drink Alcohol with Invisalign?
It is recommended that you remove your aligners whilst drinking alcohol. These beverages usually contain high levels of sugar and/or acid, and may also contain strong colours which could stain your aligners. It's also important to clean your teeth and aligners afterwards, prior to replacing your aligners.
Can You Drink Coffee or Tea with Invisalign?
Avoid drinking coffee or tea with Invisalign in place because they can warp or stain the aligners. Be sure to clean your teeth and aligners afterwards, prior to replacing your aligners.
Can You Drink Soda, Soft Drink or Fizzy Drink with Invisalign?
It's best to avoid these types of beverages while wearing Invisalign aligners due to its high sugar content and acidity, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. If you choose to drink these occasionally, do so without the aligners in and clean your teeth before putting them back in.
Can I Drink Water with Invisalign in?
Yes, absolutely! Drinking water with Invisalign aligners is safe and encouraged to stay hydrated and help keep your aligners clean.
How should I clean my Invisalign after drinking?
Rinse your aligners under cool water. You can use a very soft toothbrush and a mild, clear soap to clean them. Follow up with another good rinse before replacing.
Can I drink cool herbal teas with Invisalign?
Despite being marketed as healthy, many teas are sweet and/or acidic. Even if sweetened and flavoured naturally, teas still pose risks to overall oral hygiene. You should remove your aligners prior to drinking, and clean your teeth and aligners prior to replacing them, just as you would any other beverage (other than plain water).
What happens if my Invisalign aligners get stained?
If your aligners become stained, they become more visible, which can detract from the aesthetic appeal of Invisalign. Deep cleaning or replacing the aligners might be necessary.
Can I drink lemon water or other flavoured waters with Invisalign?
Sweet or acidic drinks like lemon water can erode tooth enamel, or contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. If you wish to occasionally indulge, it is recommended to do so without the aligners in place. You should also clean your teeth and aligners afterwards, prior to replacing your aligners.
Are there any drinks I can have without removing Invisalign?
Room-temperature (or below) plain water is the only drink that is completely safe to consume with Invisalign in place.
Find out more about Invisalign®:
Learn more about Invisalign aligner treatment.
Discover the innovative custom-made orthodontic aligner treatment, Fine Line, developed by Dr. Martin Fine.
Visit the Fine Orthodontics clinic's webpage for individuals interested in Invisalign at Bondi Junction.
Explore the process of obtaining Invisalign at Fine Orthodontics in Maroubra.
View Invisalign results from Fine Orthodontics clinics in Sydney.
Learn about the differences between Invisalign vs braces, and choose the best treatment for you.
Read more about Invisalign cost at Fine Orthodontics.
Find out how long does Invisalign take to see results.
Is Invisalign uncomfortable? Read more by visiting our blog post.
Read more about the topic: can you eat with Invisalign aligners?
In our blog post, we explore whether Invisalign leads to cavities. Find out more about this subject.
Understanding the oral health impact of Invisalign side effects.
Invisalign vs. Veneers: discover the pros and cons of both treatments.
Discover effective methods to maintain and clean Invisalign for optimal treatment results.
Discover Invisalign financing options for Fine Orthodontics patients.
Does Invisalign hurt? Read more on our blog.
Discover more about the nature and purpose of Invisalign attachments.
Can Invisalign fix an overbite? Discover the truth.
How to hide Invisalign attachments: read our tips and tricks.
Clear Correct vs. Invisalign: a comparison of both treatment methods.