Drinking with Aligners

Drinking With Aligners
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If you are one of the millions of people who wear aligners to straighten their teeth, you may be wondering if it is safe to drink whilst wearing them. This article will give you advice on drinking with aligners so that you can make the best choice to keep your smile looking its best!

Can You Drink with Aligners?

When it comes to wearing aligners, it’s important to be mindful of what you drink. Beverages like coffee, tea, and soda are not recommended to be consumed while your aligners are in. These drinks not only have the potential to stain the clear material of your aligners, diminishing their invisibility, but they can also lead to the accumulation of bacteria within the tiny spaces and crevices of the aligners. This buildup can pose risks to your oral health, including increased chances of tooth decay and unpleasant odors.

If you find yourself needing to drink while your aligners are in, sticking to plain water is the safest choice. Water does not carry the staining agents found in colored or sugary beverages and poses no threat to the integrity of your aligners or your dental hygiene.

Can You Drink Water with Aligners?

Water is the most aligner-friendly beverage you can choose. Cold or room temperature water is especially safe for consumption without the need to remove your aligners. It doesn’t affect the structural integrity or the snug fit that is essential for the aligners to effectively do their job. This makes cold water a great choice for continuous hydration throughout the day without any negative impact on your orthodontic treatment.

Worth Knowing

If you’re unable to remove your aligners before drinking, consider using a straw and allowing the beverage to cool down. This simple step can help preserve the condition of your aligners and ensure they remain in good shape.

However, when it comes to hot water, a bit more caution is warranted. The high temperatures can lead to warping of the aligners, altering their shape and fit. This deformation can reduce the effectiveness of the aligners and potentially extend the duration of your treatment. As such, it’s advisable to avoid drinking hot beverages or remove your aligners before doing so to prevent any damage.

Sparkling water is a different kind of concern. While the temperature of sparkling water might not be an issue, its carbonation can be problematic. Frequent consumption of carbonated water can weaken the material of the aligners over time and create an environment conducive to bacterial growth. This could compromise the cleanliness of the aligners and, by extension, your oral health. Therefore, for those undergoing treatment with aligners, sticking to still, cold, or room temperature water is the safest option to ensure the treatment remains on track and effective.

Can You Drink Coffee or Tea with Aligners?

When undergoing teeth straightening with aligners, it’s best to steer clear of hot beverages such as coffee or tea. The heat from these drinks can warp the aligners, compromising their fit and, consequently, the effectiveness of your treatment.

Moreover, coffee, in particular, poses a risk of staining due to its high tannin content and other additives, which can lead to permanent discoloration of the aligners that cleaning efforts may not remove. Cleaning the aligners might not always remove these stains completely. Unlike teeth, which can be brushed clean, aligners are made from a porous material that’s more susceptible to absorbing stains.

Related posts: Can You Eat with Clear Aligners? and Can You Drink Coffee With Aligners?

Can You Drink Soda with Aligners?

Drinking soda with aligners is not recommended due to several direct impacts on dental health and the condition of the aligners. Soda’s high sugar content can increase the risk of plaque accumulation and tooth decay, especially since aligners can hold the sugary liquid close to the teeth. The acid in soda can also weaken tooth enamel over time. Moreover, the coloring agents in many sodas can stain aligners, compromising their clear appearance.

To avoid these issues, it’s best to remove aligners before consuming soda and to clean your teeth thoroughly before reinserting them, ensuring the maintenance of both oral health and the aligners’ effectiveness.

Can You Drink Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol with aligners in place is not recommended due to several considerations. Alcoholic beverages, particularly those that are sugary or acidic, can increase the risk of tooth decay and enamel erosion. These risks are heightened when aligners trap the liquid against the teeth. Additionally, colored drinks, such as red wine or certain cocktails, can stain the clear material of the aligners, diminishing their discreet nature. If you choose to consume alcohol, it’s advisable to remove your aligners to prevent any potential damage or staining.

What to Do if You Can’t Remove Your Aligners Before Drinking?

Maintaining the required 20-22 hours of daily aligner wear can be challenging, especially during social events where eating and drinking are involved. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t remove your aligners before drinking, consider implementing a few preventive measures. These steps can help minimize potential damage or staining to your aligners, ensuring you stay on track with your teeth straightening program while still enjoying your evening out.

Worth Knowing

An article from the National Library of Medicine states that aligners can encourage the formation of biofilms, which may harm your oral health. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a regular cleaning routine, especially after eating or drinking.

Drink Clear and Non-Acidic Beverages

If you find yourself in a situation where removing your aligners isn’t possible and you’d like to have a drink, choosing clear and non-acidic beverages is a practical measure to protect your aligners and maintain your oral health. Clear drinks, such as herbal teas, are less likely to cause stains on your aligners, keeping them invisible as intended. Non-acidic options are also recommended because they are less harsh on both the aligners and your teeth, reducing the risk of enamel damage and cavities. This careful selection of beverages ensures that your aligners remain effective and your teeth stay healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.

In social settings where you might want to enjoy an alcoholic drink, opting for clear, non-acidic choices like some white wines or clear spirits mixed with non-acidic beverages can be a good compromise.

Use a Straw

When you’re wearing aligners and need to drink, opting for a straw can be a smart choice. It directs the liquid away from your aligners, reducing the likelihood of stains and shielding your teeth from sugary or acidic substances. It’s essential, though, to remember that hot beverages should still be avoided to prevent any potential damage to the aligners. Following up your drink with a quick rinse of water can help wash away any residue, ensuring your aligners and teeth stay in top condition.

Let Hot Drinks Cool Down

If you enjoy hot beverages during your aligner treatment, it’s important to let them cool to a lukewarm temperature before drinking. Hot temperatures can negatively affect the aligners, potentially causing them to warp and impacting their effectiveness. By allowing your drinks to cool, you protect the integrity of your aligners and ensure your treatment progresses smoothly.

Rinse or Brush your Aligners After Drinking

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t remove your aligners before drinking, it’s important to rinse or brush them afterward to maintain their cleanliness and effectiveness. This practice helps remove any residue or particles that may have accumulated on the aligners, reducing the risk of staining and bacterial buildup. Simply rinsing the aligners with water can be effective, but for a more thorough cleaning, gently brushing them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and clear, unscented soap can ensure they remain clear and hygienic.

Drinking with Aligners

Wearing aligners during meals and while drinking beverages poses some risks. Aligners are meant to stay in the mouth for 20-22 hours per day to properly move the teeth. However, they should be removed for eating and drinking anything other than water. Consuming sugary, acidic, or staining drinks while wearing aligners can lead to damage, discoloration, and excess plaque buildup on the aligners. The aligners can also become loose if food or liquids get trapped beneath them. This reduces their effectiveness at shifting teeth into their intended positions. Additionally, aligners harbor more bacteria compared to natural teeth. Swishing sugary or acidic drinks around them raises oral health risks.

Opting for clear, non-acidic beverages, letting hot drinks cool, using a straw, and maintaining diligent care of your aligners by rinsing or brushing them after drinking are all key strategies. These practices help prevent damage, staining, and bacterial buildup, ensuring your aligners remain effective and discreet. By adopting these simple precautions, you can enjoy a variety of beverages without compromising the health of your teeth or the progress of your aligner treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Drink with a Straw when Wearing Aligners?

Drinking anything other than water with aligners is to be avoided but if you cannot avoid it using a straw is the best option.

A straw will take a large amount of liquid away from both your teeth and aligners versus drinking directly from a glass or cup so it can reduce warping and staining. However, care should still be taken as misusing straws can affect the fit of your aligner.

Can I Drink Alcohol with a Straw While Wearing Aligners?

It is not recommended to drink alcohol at all when wearing aligners, including doing so but using a straw.

Alcohol can cause the material that makes the aligners to wear down at a faster rate and lead to discoloration that cannot be reversed.

Should I Take Aligners Off While Drinking?

Aligners should always be removed before drinking colored liquids or acidic beverages like wine, coffee, or sodas.
Not only can drinks cause discoloration of the aligner material, but the acids can also damage their structural integrity. If you do drink anything other than water with your aligners in you should remove and clean them as soon as possible after consumption.


Venkatasubramanian, P., Jerome, M. S., Ragunanthanan, L., Maheshwari, U., Vijayalakshmi, D., Color stability of aligner materials on exposure to indigenous food products: An in-vitro study, J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Prospects. 2022, DOI: 10.34172/joddd.2022.035. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10407867/

Charavet, C., Gourdain, Z., Graveline, L., Lupi, L., Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols for Clear Orthodontic Aligners: A Systematic Review, Healthcare (Basel) 2022; DOI: 10.3390/healthcare10020340. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8871989/

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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