SmileDirectClub aligners are both comfortable and convenient. But you still need to follow some guidelines to keep your aligners and your teeth in tip top shape during your treatment.
When it comes to protecting your aligners and teeth, what you put in your mouth can make all the difference. SmileDirectClub often gets asked about three things that are best to avoid when your aligners are in — drinking, eating, and smoking/vaping.
Normally, without aligners, the saliva in your mouth helps keep most food and beverages from damaging your teeth. But when aligners are in place in your mouth, they form a barrier between your saliva and your teeth. Your saliva can’t do its job to flush bacteria away.
Instead, aligners can become a breeding ground for bacteria if you don’t follow your doctor’s instructions for wearing them, and if they aren’t taken care of correctly.
To understand exactly why drinking, eating, and smoking/vaping can harm your aligners and teeth, here’s what you should know about each.
Other than drinking plain water, the answer is no. Check out these beverages to avoid while wearing aligners, and the reasons to avoid them:
Hot beverages — Drinking hot beverages, like hot tea and coffee, or soups even, may warp your aligners. A warped aligner means your teeth won’t straighten well. You want your aligners to maintain their position, so they can move your teeth.
Dark drinks — Coffees, teas, sodas, and other dark-colored drinks have the potential to stain your aligners and teeth, even if you use a straw. Using a straw does not eliminate the possibility that the beverage could get into your aligners. Drink your morning cup of coffee or tea first, before putting in your aligners. Need a second shot of espresso to wake up? Take your aligner out first before taking a sip.
Acidic beverages — The acid found in some beverages can drain minerals from your teeth, making them weak and causing decay. Acidic drinks include tea, coffee, alcohol, and citrus juices. The acidic liquid can also get trapped in the aligners and linger on your teeth, increasing potential negative side effects to your oral health.
Sugary drinks — Beverages high in sugar, such as juice and soda, are also dangerous to your oral health. We all know that sugar will help to form cavities. And if it gets trapped between your aligner and teeth, it could cause even more severe problems.
Carbonated beverages — Fizzy sodas or alcoholic drinks can be especially dangerous because of their acidity. Even carbonated water, or sparkling water, can be slightly acidic. And then there’s the sugar issue. We all know that many fizzy drinks like soda can contain sugar, but even some sparkling waters can contain hidden sugars.
Alcoholic drinks — Drinking alcohol with clear aligners can also damage your teeth. Depending on the drink, alcohol can be both high in sugar and high in acidity.
So what can you drink with aligners? Stick to plain water. When you drink anything else, bacteria, acid, and sugars can become trapped between your aligner and teeth.
Aligners aren’t meant to be worn while eating. That goes for food you need to chew, such as salad or steak, and softer foods too, such as soups or mashed potatoes.
Like drinks, food can be acidic or sugary or both. Food particles can get stuck under aligners, increasing your risk of cavities forming. And hot foods can also warp your aligners.
Protecting your smile is another great incentive to quit smoking.
“For your health, it’s important you don’t smoke or chew any type of tobacco product. It’s harmful to both your oral health and overall health,” says SmileDirectClub’s Lead Dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer.
Still, SmileDirectClub gets this question a lot. And we know it can be difficult to quit smoking. Or you may be using vaping as a way to help you quit. Regardless, it’s still not advised to smoke or vape while wearing your aligners.
When aligners are worn while smoking or vaping, nicotine and tar can stain the clear trays. Even if the trays are removed when smoking, the nicotine and tar that lingers in the mouth can discolor the aligners.
If you smoke or vape, take out your aligners prior to doing so and be sure to brush and your teeth before putting them back in. SmileDirectClub recommends not smoking anything with your aligners in as it could cause discoloration
Always take out your aligners before drinking, eating, and smoking/vaping. And, whenever possible, brush your teeth after any of these activities, before putting your aligners back in.