I know I’m not supposed to chew gum with Invisalign. I’ve already tried it and paid the price in hours spent scrubbing the aligners. The problem is, I’m a lifelong smoker and am trying to quit but I really need to do something with my mouth that helps take the edge off or at least distracts me from it. Chewing gum really helps but it obviously sticks to the trays. Is there a different kind I can try that might help and isn’t going to stick?
Congratulations on taking the first step toward a healthier you!!! Unfortunately, there’s no gum you can chew with Invisalign on. Even if there’s a brand that’s less sticky than others, it’s not a good idea to be chewing or eating anything while you’ve got the aligners on. However, there are some things you can do to help overcome cravings as they come up. Let’s take a look.
Again, chewing gum with your aligners in isn’t a good idea, but if you forget and do it again, you can use these tricks to get it off easier.
Give the aligners an “oil” bath. Try putting peanut butter on the aligners or soak them in another food oil, such as olive or coconut. This is similar to the old trick of using mayonnaise to get gum out of hair. The oil should make the gum slick enough that it slides off. Try working it with a denture brush—it’s stiffer than a traditional toothbrush.
Freeze your trays. Give them 20-60 minutes in the freezer. This should freeze the gum and make it brittle enough to pop off when you scrub the aligners with a denture brush.
Avoid solvents and call the dentist if you need more help. The aligners are made from a durable plastic but it can be damaged by lots of household cleaners and solvents. If the above tricks don’t work, contact your dentist and see if they have a way to remove it in-office.
If you need gum, go sugarless and pop the aligners out for a few minutes. Research shows that xylitol—a sweetener found in many sugarless gums—may actually help fight off cavities. This makes it an excellent option all the time, but especially so if you aren’t able to brush after chewing. Try popping out your aligners for a few minutes at a time when you feel a craving come on but be mindful of the time. Per Invisalign guidelines, you should be wearing your aligners 20-22 hours per day in total.
Consider alcohol-free & sugar-free mints. Alcohol isn’t great for your oral tissues since it dries them out and, again, sugar is a no-go. If you’re using a mint with xylitol that isn’t loaded with dyes, you should be able to pop the occasional one with your aligners still in.
Explore alternate ways to fidget. Some people swear by things like fidget spinners or wear bracelets they can toy with to distract them when a craving comes on.
Talk with your primary care physician about medications and nicotine replacements. Research suggests that nicotine replacements can increase the odds of success by 50-70%.
Keep at it. Quitting smoking is hard. Really hard. You may slip a time or two or even fall back into your old habits before you’re finally able to kick it for good. Obviously, nobody wants to encourage a “relapse,” but if you do slip, don’t beat yourself up. Keep trying and you will eventually overcome it. Hang in there!
This blog is sponsored by Elgin Invisalign provider Dr. Steve Sirin.