Despite many people’s love of coffee, this popular beverage often gets a bad rap. It might perk you up and get you moving, but it also has an unfortunate reputation for leaving behind stains. And, if you’ve ever spilled coffee on a white shirt or tablecloth, you know just how challenging getting those stains out can be.
Coffee doesn’t only stain fabric, though. It can also discolor your teeth, dulling their brightness and the quality of your smile. If you have or are considering Invisalign, it can even impact your treatment. Does that mean you have to give up your beloved morning starter or afternoon pick-me-up? Las Vegas orthodontist Dr. Hansen has a few tips.
Why Invisalign and Drinking Coffee Don’t Mix
Just as coffee can stain your teeth, the tannins in the beverage can cling to the material of your aligners. Even though you only wear each set for two weeks, they can discolor quickly, making them not so invisible anymore.
Coffee is acidic, and you may also put cream or milk and sugar in your cup. Acid and sugar, including the natural sugars in dairy products, can get trapped against the surfaces of your teeth while you’re wearing your aligners, and your saliva won’t be able to wash them away. The result? An increased risk of tooth decay.
Invisalign wearers should keep in mind that their aligners are thermoplastic. They become malleable when exposed to heat. If you prefer hot coffee, your beverages could end up warping your aligners, which could negatively impact the effectiveness of your treatment. The same is true of any hot beverage…but coffee is among the most popular and most regularly consumed.
Do I Have to Give Up Coffee?
So, do you have to give up your beloved coffee drinks to straighten your teeth with Invisalign? Not necessarily. Here are a few tips for success:
- Remove your aligners before you take your first sip. You might not be eating anything, but the tannins in coffee can still leave their mark. Take your aligners out and store them safely to avoid staining or warping.
- Limit your cream and sugar use. The natural sugar in dairy might not damage teeth as quickly as other sugars, but it can still cause some damage over time. Reducing your overall sugar intake can help reduce your risk of decay and cavities during your treatment (and in general).
- Drink your coffee more quickly. While you might prefer to savor your coffee, you don’t want to leave your aligners out of your mouth for too long. You shouldn’t have them out for more than two to four hours per day. You don’t have to gulp your beverage down, but you should be more mindful of the time.
- Brush before you put your aligners back in. At the very least, you should drink some water or rinse your mouth out, but brushing helps to scrub the tannins, acids, and sugars from your teeth more effectively.
- Clean your aligners, too. Don’t forget to rinse or brush your aligners before you put them in your mouth again. You should give them a thorough daily cleaning, too.
Invisalign and Coffee Drinkers: Improve Your Smile and Enjoy Your Favorite Coffee Beverages
While it’s true that coffee can stain your teeth and make your Invisalign aligners more noticeable, that doesn’t mean you need to give it up. You can enjoy the best of both worlds with proper care — a more discreet orthodontic treatment with Las Vegas Invisalign and your favorite caffeinated beverages. It might take a bit of extra effort, but it will be well worth it when you have a straighter, more confident smile without giving up your morning or afternoon java boost.