Training and Racing on the bike with Invisalign

Has anyone had experience training and racing on the bike with Invisalign?

I recently got Invisalign and as part of the invisalign treatment, you can not eat or drink anything except clear water while you are wearing your trays and you have to wear your trays a minimum 22 hours a day.

This obviously affects the manner and frequency in which i can fuel on the bike, particular long rides and races. So I was looking for any tips, tricks or suggestions for eating and drinking (Other than water) on the bike from people who have had to deal with the same thing?

p.s For people that my not be aware, Invisalign is an alternative to traditional orthodontics (braces). they are plastic clear trays (one for top and one for bottom) that are mounded over your teeth similar to a mouth guard and apply pressure to your teeth over the treatment period to correct their alignment.

Thanks in advance

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Have you asked your orthodontist about this? I was looking to get invisalign but I had the same thought about how will I able to eat bars and such. I think I asked the orthodontist and told me as long as I rinse my mouth either with water or mouth wash or brush my teeth when I get to a coffee shop. That’s what they told me

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I have them and race and train with them in. Short answer - it’s mostly a non-issue. Some thoughts / tips in no particular order.

  • I’m not a coffee or tea drinker so that’s never been an issue, but I don’t sweat the “only plain water” thing while on the bike. If you usually drink your calories, keep on drinking them. When possible I do follow up with a quick rinse of plain water (which I’d do irrespective of aligners or not), but I don’t lose sleep if/when that’s not an option.

  • Sub item to the above - I’ve never had anything stain trays in a way that didn’t come right off after a soak in denture cleaner and/or a quick brush with a toothbrush.

  • Gels are totally fine. Again, rinse them down if possible.

  • Eating real food is theoretically possible but not really recommended. I did a stroopwaffle once and while it did work after “gumming” them for a while, there was all kinds of stuff stuck in between teeth and aligners afterwords. Your call on how much this bothers you.

  • Cliff Shot Blocks work well enough. Put them in your cheek and let them melt.

  • Bananas are my go-to trainer food and work great. Even better if they’re extra ripe.

  • During an XC marathon race I did once remove both aligners, hold them in my hand, open a bar, eat the bar, wash it down and put them back in. Don’t do this. It was stupid and I have no idea how I didn’t drop everything and crash on my head.

  • This is minor and certainly not intended, but the aligners do a great job of reducing rock induced teeth chatter. Free bonus!

Happy to answer anything else you’re curious about. I’ve had them for what feels like forever and like to think I’ve figured out a thing or two, so let me know.

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Your main two issues are going to be staining and trapping sugar in the trays.

During your primary bite adjustment phase where you’re changing trays weekly, staining is less likely and less of a problem if it happens.

When training, where most people spend the majority of their time, it’s a good idea to minimize contact between a sports drink and your teeth anyway. So a well aimed swig of drink past your teeth or a tumbler with a straw are both viable solutions.

I think you’re going to want to be more careful at the end of the adjustment phase where the trays are in maintenance mode but you’re still wearing them all day. Those can get gross pretty quickly.

In a race, do what you gotta do. The tray serves as a mouth guard sort of, so that’s a plus.

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Hindering the ability to eat stroopwaffels is a strong argument against this type of treatment.

How is one supposed to endure a UAL flight if one cannot eat the stroopwaffel? It’s the only positive part of the experience.

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A friend of mine had to wear these for a season and refused to take them off for rides. He also ended up bonking a lot due to malnutrition while on the bike. I always thought he was silly for not taking them out for the duration of the ride.

If you truly cannot remove them for more than 2hrs in a 24-hr period I would look to Maurten or SiS Beta Fuel (liquids) to fuel your rides. However you’ll want solids at some point. I guess it comes down to trial and error and experimenting with what you can eat with them installed.

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Awesome, all great tips, thank you. Good to hear you think it’s pretty much a non issue too, as that was my main concern, not knowing the effect of eating gels, liquids and food while riding while having the treatment.

I usually take my fuel through liquid and gels and I’ve got a long ride (4hrs) scheduled for tomorrow, so I’ll implement some of your tips and just do gels and liquids and see how I go with both the riding and my trays.

Also I might take you up on further questions once I’ve done a few rides with them if I run into any other issues, so thanks. I’m actually interested to see how they affect the saliva in my mouth and moisture in my lips while riding?! My lips have been getting dry this week after starting the treatment and that never happens to me.

Thanks again

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Thanks for the thread and insights!