With the holiday season upon us, the weeks ahead will be spent enjoying the festivities with our loved ones and colleagues. If you wear Invisalign to restore your smile, you may be wondering how you can eat, drink and be merry this Christmas.
Invisalign braces work by gradually moving your teeth into proper position over time, which means you still have to wear your aligners over the holidays. However, you don’t have to pass on that piece of homemade pie or avoid an extra serving of delicious stuffing. You can enjoy the holiday foods and drinks you love, while keeping your aligners clean and your teeth in good health.
Invisalign And The Holidays
Invisalign offers many benefits to those who are looking to correct an underbite, overbite or an overcrowded mouth. Besides being invisible, safe, painless and moving your teeth faster than traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are removable.
Before you bite into that freshly carved piece of ham or take a sip of a warm and inviting peppermint mocha latte, take your aligners out. You already do this when it’s not Christmas time and by now you should know that eating with your aligners in is a big no-no. If you forget to take your aligners out, you’ll notice when you take your first bite or sip, because Invisalign is not designed to be worn while you eat or drink.
Alcohol And Your Aligners
You can drink water with your aligners in because it won’t damage them. Water is an exception because it’s harmless to your teeth, and you should be drinking water regardless for the simple fact that it’s good for you. However, alcohol, even if it’s a clear liquid, like white wine or vodka, is too harsh for your aligners. You can have a glass of wine by the fire while waiting for Santa to come down the chimney, but make sure you have removed your Invisalign trays.
If you prefer red wine or another holiday favourite, the hot toddy, remember to brush your teeth afterward. Even though you have removed your aligners to have these beverages, red wine and dark alcohol will stain your teeth. They’ll stain your aligners too if you forget to take them out. You will probably undergo a professional teeth whitening treatment once the Invisalign process is complete, but if you can avoid red wine stains, all the better.
Sugar and Invisalign
We tend to indulge over the holidays. We’ll work it off in January at the gym, we swear! However, if you forget to remove your aligners before consuming something sweet, you are risking cavities. When you eat sugary foods like ice cream or pudding, the sugars can creep under the Invisalign trays and stick to your teeth leading to the formation of bacteria and plaque.
If you forget to remove your aligners, brush your teeth immediately afterward to remove any sugar. Also, brush your aligners to ensure that no residue is left inside the trays.
Eating Out Over The Holidays
Although you may or may not be hosting Christmas dinner, you’ll probably be going out to eat more often over the holidays. When you do eat out, remember to remove your aligners and bring your Invisalign case with you. Don’t stuff your aligners in your pocket or purse. Also, if you wrap them in tissue, there is a good chance you may misplace them somewhere. In that case, you should go back and get them immediately.
You’re supposed to be wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours a day. Normally, you would schedule your eating and drinking to ensure that you’re not neglecting the wearing time. Over the holidays you may be eating more or at different times than you usually would. It’s normal to sleep in when you’re on vacation or eat dinner later. As long as you remember to put your aligners back in after your meal and stick as close to the 20-22 recommended hours of daily wearing, you will not interfere with the progress of your treatment.
How To Clean Your Aligners
First and foremost, your aligners need to be cleaned when you remove them. Over the holidays you may be eating and drinking more than your normally would – pass the eggnog! – so it’s important to take good care of your aligners. Brush your aligners carefully with a soft-bristled brush.
Do not use toothpaste to clean your aligners, unless you have cleared it with our dentist. Certain toothpastes can contain ingredients that may be too abrasive and scratch the aligners. Some dentists recommend using a mix of water and dish detergent every so often to clean your aligners. Check with your dentist first before creating any DIY cleaning products. You can also get a special cleaning kit from your dentist that is made by Invisalign.
Now that you know how to enjoy your favourite holiday foods and drinks without damaging your aligners, go forth and eat, drink and be merry!