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Can I Drink Tea with Retainers? (Invisalign & Others)

One of the most common questions people with orthodontic treatment systems, such as clear aligners or traditional braces, ask is whether they can drink tea or other hot beverages with their retainers.

Retainers, whether they are removable or permanent, are an essential part of maintaining a straight smile after orthodontic treatment. 

However, they also require a certain amount of care and maintenance to ensure they stay in good shape and do not negatively affect your oral health. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at whether you can drink tea with retainers, and what you should keep in mind when consuming hot beverages.

Short Answer: Yes, You Can Drink Tea With Retainers

You can drink tea with retainers. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean it is a good idea! Most dentists recommend against drinking tea with retainers, especially hot tea. 

There are some things you need to keep in mind when consuming hot beverages, especially if you want to maintain the best results from your orthodontic treatment.

can i drink tea with invisalign
Drinking tea and coffee may stain your Invisalign trays.

Hot Beverages and Retainers: What You Need to Know

When it comes to drinking tea or other hot beverages with your retainers, there are several things you need to keep in mind.


It’s crucial to keep the temperature of the liquids you consume in mind when wearing retainers, especially while sipping on some tea. The heat from hot beverages can easily warp the plastic material of your retainers, causing discomfort and impacting their effectiveness. 

If you want to ensure that your orthodontic treatment is on track and avoid any damage to your retainers, it’s best to avoid hot drinks like tea, hot coffee, or hot chocolate. Instead, opt for cold or room-temperature drinks.

Food Particles:

Retainers can quickly become a breeding ground for food particles and debris, especially when indulging in some tea. Tea can cause particles to get lodged in your retainers, making cleaning an absolute nightmare.  This is especially true if you usually drink loose leaf tea.

This, in turn, creates an environment for bacteria to thrive, causing unpleasant breath and damaging your oral health. To avoid any such problems, it’s recommended that you either remove your retainers before consuming tea or avoid it altogether.

Acidic Beverages:

Tea, especially black and green tea, can be highly acidic, which can spell trouble for your tooth enamel. It’s also best to steer clear of sugary drinks like fruit juices, energy drinks, and fizzy drinks. 

Acidic drinks like tea can erode your enamel, making your teeth susceptible to decay and damage. If you do indulge in some tea with your retainers on, make sure to rinse your mouth with cool water and brush your teeth afterward to neutralize the acid.

Dark-Colored Beverages

Dark-colored drinks, such as black tea, coffee, dark beer, and red wine, can also stain your retainers over time. If you do drink these beverages with your retainers in, make sure to clean them thoroughly afterward to avoid discoloration. For best results, all alcoholic beverages should be avoided, including white wine. 

If tea can stain your teeth, it can also stain your retainers.

can you drink tea with retainers
Drinking tea may stain your retainers.

Removable vs. Permanent Retainers

If you have removable retainers, it’s best to take them out before consuming hot beverages. This will help protect the plastic from warping and ensure that no food particles or acidic drinks get trapped in the retainer. If you have permanent retainers, it’s still possible to drink hot beverages, but you should be extra careful about temperature and make sure to clean your teeth and retainer thoroughly afterward.

Retainer Cases

Always make sure to store your retainers in their cases when you’re not wearing them. This will help protect them from damage and keep them clean and hygienic.

Can I Drink Tea with a Hawley retainer? 

A Hawley retainer is a type of removable retainer that is constructed with acrylic and thin metal wires and is used to keep the teeth in place after orthodontic treatment such as braces. The retainer is custom-made to fit the patient’s teeth and is typically worn for a specific period to ensure that the teeth remain in their new position.

While it’s possible to drink tea with a Hawley retainer, it’s recommended to remove the retainer before consuming any hot beverages to prevent damage to the retainer or teeth.

The metal wires in the retainer can become deformed or bent out of shape by the heat, rendering the retainer ineffective in maintaining the proper positioning of the teeth.

Can I Drink Tea with Invisalign Retainers?

While it’s technically possible to drink tea with Invisalign aligners, it’s generally not recommended. Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment system that uses clear plastic trays to gradually straighten teeth, and it’s important to follow some basic guidelines to ensure that the treatment remains effective.

Tea and other hot beverages can cause the clear aligners to warp or become misshapen, rendering them ineffective in straightening teeth. Furthermore, the heat from the hot drink can damage the plastic material and cause it to discolor or develop a foul odor. 

Additionally, tea can leave behind particles that can get trapped in the aligners, leading to bacteria build-up, bad breath, and other oral health issues. To avoid these problems, it’s best to remove your Invisalign retainers before consuming any hot drinks like tea. 

Can I Drink Tea with an Essix Retainer? 

An Essix retainer is a type of removable retainer that is manufactured using clear plastic and helps to maintain the new position of the teeth after braces or Invisalign treatment. It’s custom-made to fit the patient’s teeth and is typically worn for a specific period to ensure that the teeth remain in their new position.

Similar to other clear retainers like Invisalign, it’s not recommended to drink hot tea while wearing an Essix retainer.

can you drink coffee with retainers or invisalign
Some drinks may stain your retainers and invisalign trays.

Helpful Tips for Drinking Tea with Retainers

If you do decide to drink tea with retainers, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Only drink tea or other hot beverages in moderation. 
  • Use cool water to rinse your mouth after drinking to help protect your enamel.
  • Brush your teeth and clean your retainers thoroughly after consuming hot beverages.
  • If you have removable aligners, take them out before consuming hard foods, dark drinks, or anything hot.
  • Store your retainers in their cases when not in use to protect them from damage.
  • Consider drinking tea or other hot beverages through a straw to minimize contact with your retainers and your front teeth. 
  • If you’re concerned about the negative effects of extreme temperatures on your oral health, consider switching to cold or room-temperature drinks.
  • Avoid drinking sugary or soft drinks as these are the worst drinks to increase the risk of tooth decay and damage to your retainers.
  • If you’re a fan of tea, try drinking clear teas like herbal teas or white teas instead of black or green tea, which are more acidic and can be more damaging to your enamel.

Which Drinks are Safe with Retainers?

The safest choice for when you are wearing clear plastic retainers is plain cold water. Other cold beverages such as iced tea and iced coffee are also permitted. Clear liquids such as tonic water and soda water are safe to drink as long as they don’t contain any sugar, food coloring, or acidic flavors.

Think before you drink with retainers

Although drinking tea with a plastic retainer is not recommended, it is possible to do so with care. Temperature is a crucial factor to consider as hot beverages can cause damage to your retainers and impact your orthodontic treatment progress. 

Additionally, the type of tea or drink you consume should also be considered, as some can be more harmful to your enamel and retainers than others.

If you do decide to drink tea while wearing retainers, it is essential to follow the tips mentioned above to reduce any negative effects and ensure your new smile stays in good shape for a long time.

can i drink tea with retainers
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