Getting braces is an exciting time, but it also comes with a lot of questions. One of the biggest topics is what patients can eat or drink with braces. There are some food restrictions you have to adhere to while you’re in your braces. Some of those seem pretty obvious — gum, hard candies, popcorn. But what about drinks? Do they matter? Many of the questions revolve around some of the most popular drinks: sodas. “Can I drink Sprite with braces?” “Can I have Coke with braces?” “Is it OK to have my Diet Coke with braces?”
The truth is, sodas aren’t healthy whether you have braces or not. That said, sodas can definitely cause problems for patients with braces. Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics discourages patients from drinking sodas with braces. Why? We’ll be happy to explain, and some of the explanations might surprise you. They might also make you think twice about having that next soda, whether you’re in braces or not.
The Truth About Sodas
People think sodas are bad because they contain a lot of sugar. This is absolutely true, but sodas have other things that are just as bad or worse for your teeth. People also think that drinking diet sodas takes care of the problem.
Nope. Diet sodas contain the same things as regular sodas that are bad for your teeth. It’s not the sugars — it’s the acids. That’s right, sodas have acids, including phosphoric, carbonic, and citric acids.
That said, the sugars and sugar substitutes also harm you. Sugars in sodas have been linked to an increased risk of type II diabetes. It’s also been linked to increased chances of heart disease and heart attacks.
The bottom line is that sodas really aren’t great for you.
Sodas and Your Teeth
Multiple studies have shown that sodas are bad for your teeth because they increase your risk of tooth decay. The sugars in sodas form plaque that weakens your enamel and allows cavities to form, but there’s more to it. Remember those acids we mentioned? Those acids can also weaken your enamel, allowing the sugar to do more damage faster. That’s why your dentist will recommend you avoid sodas or at least brush your teeth after having one.
Sodas and Your Braces
We know soda is bad for your teeth, but what about your braces? Sodas increase plaque on your teeth, which leads to tooth decay. The best way to avoid tooth decay is to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, though it’s best to do it after every meal.
The problem with sodas and plaque is that your brackets make it more difficult to keep plaque at bay because of the nooks and crannies created by your brackets and wires. Sodas can get under wires and around brackets, sitting on your teeth and becoming plaque.
If cavities develop with braces, it may mean removing your archwire and the bracket on the tooth to fill in the cavity. This will delay your treatment, which is why it’s so important to make sure you maintain great oral hygiene.
Sodas, Clear Braces, and Clear Aligners
If you’re wearing clear braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign or 3M Clarity, there is even more reason to avoid sodas. Non-clear sodas can stain your clear braces or clear aligners over time. You can remove your clear aligners, but you can’t remove clear ceramic braces. That means that sodas will have a chance of discoloring your braces. If you have elastics on your braces, chances are your sodas will discolor those, too.
This also applies to clear retainers once your braces are off. Sodas can stain clear retainers, such as the Essix style retainers. Your retainers are meant to last for years, so they can become very discolored over time if you drink sodas with your retainers.
Avoiding Sodas With Braces
Patients ask whether they can drink sodas with braces. While technically you can, we don’t encourage drinking sodas with braces because of the increased risk of staining and tooth decay. Sodas also have other health side effects, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Patients in Columbia, IL, and Waterloo, IL, get all kinds of advice and support in their braces journey with Hentscher-Johnson Orthodontics. We know there can be so many questions about what is good to eat with braces, and we are here to answer all of them for our patients. If you’re ready to start your braces journey, start a virtual consult and see what we can do for you!
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