For many people, Invisalign aligners are a convenient and effective way to achieve a flawless smile. But you may have questions like “Can you chew gum with Invisalign?”
Read on to find out.
What Is Invisalign®?
Invisalign is a popular choice for orthodontic treatment nowadays, with the same function as traditional braces. These clear plastic aligners have gained recognition because they are almost invisible, making it hard for people to notice when someone is wearing them.
In contrast to traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are not just highly practical but also feel more comfortable in the mouth and can be easily removed. This comes in handy during meal times or when one needs to brush their teeth. However, for these aligners to provide the desired results in line with the predicted treatment time, they require consistency in wear times. Also, traditional metal braces may be more suitable for severe orthodontic issues.
Orthodontists usually advise that aligners should be worn for a minimum of 20-22 hours per day for the Invisalign treatment to do its job well. This consistency helps move your teeth to the right spot and also ensures the treatment time is on schedule.
What Orthodontic Issues Does Invisalign Address?
- Teeth gaps
- Open bite
- Crowded teeth
- Misaligned teeth
- Crooked teeth
As mentioned, Invisalign is effective in correcting mild to moderate orthodontic concerns. For more severe conditions, traditional metal braces are recommended.
Can I Chew Gum With Invisalign?
It is not recommended to chew gum with Invisalign in place. Simply because chewing gum can potentially stick to your aligners and cause damage. Sugary gums are particularly problematic as they can increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay if sugar gets lodged in your aligner.
If you feel the need to chew gum, it’s best to remove your aligners before doing so. If you decide to chew gum while wearing your aligners, choosing a sugarless gum containing xylitol is a better option.
Why Should You Avoid Chewing Gum With Invisalign?
Gum Can Stick to Invisalign Aligners
Chewing gum is not recommended when wearing Invisalign aligners because it can stick to the plastic material of the aligners. If gum gets stuck, it makes the aligners hard to clean, and you may not be able to get all the residue off. This could lead to bad breath and potentially harm your oral hygiene.
Gum May Deform Your Aligners
The consistent chewing motion can generate force that may distort the shape of your Invisalign aligners. These medical-grade plastic aligners are designed to shift your teeth into specific positions over time. If the aligners are deformed, it could jeopardize the intended course of treatment by not providing the correct pressure on the teeth, thus potentially extending the treatment duration or leading to unsatisfactory results.
Potential for Aligner Breakage
Although Invisalign removable aligners are designed to be durable, they aren’t indestructible. Excessive force from chewing gum can lead to cracks or breaks in the aligners. Not only is this inconvenient, but it could also be costly. You may need to get a replacement set of aligners quickly to avoid disrupting your treatment, leading to unexpected expenses and possible delays in progress.
Sugar-Free Gum and Tooth Decay
Even if you choose sugar-free gum, thinking it’s a safer option, you might still run into problems. Small bits of gum can get trapped under your aligners, creating a hidden spot for bacteria to grow. Since saliva can’t reach these areas to clean them naturally, it can raise the risk of tooth decay—especially since Invisalign covers your teeth for most of the day and already reduces saliva’s natural cleaning effect.
How to Get Gum Off Invisalign?
Getting gum off Invisalign trays can be a bit tricky, but there are several steps you can take:
Step 1: Carefully Remove Your Aligners
First, remove the aligners from your mouth carefully. You want to ensure you do not cause any additional damage or warp the shape by pulling too hard. Always remove your aligners using the technique your orthodontist has demonstrated to you.
Step 2: Assess the Situation
Begin by examining your aligners carefully. Look for any gum or food particles stuck on them. Determine how much gum is on the aligner and note the areas it’s sticking to. This will influence how you proceed with the cleaning and which tools you’ll need for removal.
Step 3: Try to Remove the Bulk of the Gum
Using a tool like a toothpick or dental pick, gently remove as much gum as possible. Ensure not to scratch or cut the aligners. Aim to dislodge the bulk of the gum while leaving the smaller, stickier parts for later.
Step 4: Use Lukewarm Water for Softening the Residue
To soften and remove the remaining gum from the aligners, rinse them under lukewarm water. This can help make the gum more pliable and easier to remove. However, avoid using hot water, which can warp your aligners, causing more harm than good.
Step 5: Gently Brush Away the Gum
After rinsing, gently brush away the softened gum residue with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as it may scratch the aligner’s surface. Also, do not use toothpaste as it can be abrasive to the clear plastic material of Invisalign.
Step 6: Deep Clean the Aligners
Once the gum is removed, clean the aligners with a suitable cleaner recommended by your dental care provider or a mild dish soap. Always use lukewarm water with these cleaning solutions. Brush gently again with the soft-bristle toothbrush for a thorough clean.
Step 7: Consult Your Dental Care Provider
Lastly, always seek advice from your cosmetic dentistry professional when facing potential damage to your aligners. They can suggest extra cleansing procedures or provide replacements if needed. Invisalign is a finely crafted orthodontic device, and its lifespan and functionality depend on its cleanliness and good maintenance. Be attentive to what enters your mouth when you have your Invisalign in. Always remove your aligners when you eat or chew gum. This will not only keep your aligners sanitary but also aid in avoiding situations like this.
In addition to the steps mentioned above, you can also try the following methods:
- Peanut Butter Method. Apply smooth peanut butter to the affected area of the Invisalign tray and let it soak for several minutes. The oil in the peanut butter helps to loosen the gum. After soaking, gently brush off the gum with a soft toothbrush.
- Mineral Spirits. Wet a paper towel with mineral spirits and wipe the aligner. Afterward, clean the mineral spirits off the aligner with soapy water.
- Soft Polishing Buff Head (Dremel). If you have a Dremel tool, you can use a soft polishing buff head at a low speed to gently remove the gum from the aligner.
- Soft-Bristled Toothbrush. Brush off as much gum as possible using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be careful not to use too much force as it may damage the aligner.
Remember, the best way to avoid this issue in the first place is by removing your Invisalign aligners before chewing gum. Once you’re done, ensure you brush your teeth thoroughly, clean your aligners, and then put them back in.
Tips for Maintaining Oral Health With Invisalign Treatment
Here are some ways to help maintain your oral health during your Invisalign treatment:
- Clean and Rinse Aligners. Always clean and rinse your aligners before storing them in their case. Soaking your aligners in Invisalign cleaning crystals once per day can also help keep them clean.
- Avoid Certain Drinks. While wearing your aligners, you should only drink plain water. Sugary or acidic drinks can lead to tooth decay.
- Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush. When cleaning your teeth or aligners, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, cotton swab, or even a piece of cloth. Brushes with hard bristles can scratch the aligners.
- Brush Regularly. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day remains essential, even with Invisalign. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Proper Storage. Store your aligners properly when not in use to avoid contamination.
- Remove Aligners Before Eating and Brushing. Always remove your aligners before you eat or brush your teeth.
- Rinse Mouth After Eating. If you are unable to brush immediately after eating, rinse your mouth with water. Swishing water around will help dislodge any food particles stuck in your teeth.
- Use Non-Abrasive Toothpaste. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste is recommended to avoid damaging the aligners.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for the success of your Invisalign treatment. Always consult with your orthodontist or dentist if you have any questions or concerns about caring for your Invisalign aligners.
Let Reston Serenity Smiles Guide You; Visit Us for All Your Invisalign Concerns
While chewing gum with Invisalign isn’t advised, there are numerous ways to maintain fresh breath and oral hygiene while using these aligners. Make sure to brush your teeth and rinse your aligners after each meal. When it comes to your oral health, let our professionals at Reston Serenity Smiles assist you.
At Reston Serenity Smiles, we’re committed to educating and guiding our patients throughout their oral health journey. Contact us for more personalized advice catered to your needs. Or, if you’re still planning to get Invisalign, we will evaluate your oral health and determine if you’re a good candidate.
Call us today to schedule your initial consultation!