Can you drink coffee with clear braces? Can you drink with Invisalign aligners in your mouth? Why is soda bad for braces? These are some of the questions we get from our Everett, Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek Invisalign and braces patients. While most people have a pretty good idea of the ins and outs of eating with orthodontic appliances, not everyone is as well versed when it comes to beverages. To help give you a better idea of what you should know about drinking with Invisalign or braces, we’re covering some of the most common beverage-related questions.
Read more to learn…
- Can you drink soda with braces?
- Can you drink coffee or tea with Invisalign?
- can you drink coffee with clear braces?
- Can you drink water with Invisalign?
- What else can you drink with Invisalign aligners in?
- What are drinks to avoid with braces or Invisalign?
- What are the best drinks to drink with braces or Invisalign?
Can You Drink Soda With Braces?
While soda is usually mentioned as one of the drinks to avoid with braces, drinking soda with braces every so often is okay, but moderation is really key. Having a soda every day or even every few days isn’t recommended. So, why is soda bad for braces? Soda is full of sugar. The bacteria in the mouth mix with saliva and food particles to form a sticky film called plaque that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria in the plaque feed on the sugars and starches from food and drinks, such as soda. As the bacteria snack, they release acids that eat away at our tooth enamel, which can eventually lead to tooth decay.
However, it’s not just the sugar in soda that is harmful to the teeth. Sodas are also carbonated and many contain acids like phosphoric acid and citric acid. These acids weaken and erode enamel, making the teeth even more susceptible to the acid attacks from plaque. The one-two punch of acidity and sugar is why soda is one of the worst drinks for teeth.
If you’re wondering: Is diet soda better for your teeth than regular soda? The answer is, not really. Diet soda also has acids in it that will do a number on your enamel. A study on soda and teeth found that regular and diet Coca Cola and Pepsi dissolved enamel 55 to 65 times more than the baseline, which was water and root beer. Mountain Dew was even worse and considered the biggest offender.
Another of the reasons why soda is bad for braces is because the brackets and wires create more areas for the bacteria and plaque to hide, and effectively cleaning off plaque can be slightly more challenging. If you do get cavities while you have braces, in extreme cases, you could need to have your braces removed to address the decay, which would make your treatment last longer. Additionally, teeth move most effectively in a healthy oral environment. So, skip drinking soda with braces altogether or enjoy it as a rare treat.
Can You Drink Coffee or Tea With Invisalign?
Drinking coffee or tea with Invisalign is perfectly fine as long as you take your aligners out first. If you leave your aligners in while drinking coffee, they will stain and will no longer be clear or under the radar. Aside from the aesthetic concerns, drinking hot coffee with Invisalign, or drinking any hot beverage, can warp the aligners and affect the fit, which, in turn, can affect your treatment outcome or mean you’ll need to have replacement aligners made. Finally, since most coffee or tea drinkers put some sugar into their drinks, the sugar will then sit trapped between the aligner and your teeth, creating a ripe environment for cavities.
Can You Drink Coffee With Clear Braces?
A long time ago, drinking coffee with clear braces caused the brackets to stain and turn yellow, so it was considered one of the drinks to avoid. However, the modern ceramic braces we use at Richard Chan Orthodontics resist staining. Drinking coffee with these clear braces is fine.
The one caveat is that with conventional clear braces, we often use clear elastics to secure the archwires to the brackets. While the brackets are stain-resistant, the clear elastics are not. Coffee can cause the elastics to discolor if you drink a lot of it. Fortunately, we change the elastics throughout your treatment, so if they do eventually get slightly discolored, you’ll be getting fresh ones anyway. To help your elastics stay clear for longer, after drinking coffee with braces, rinse your mouth out really well with water or brush your teeth.
Can You Drink Water With Invisalign?
Yes, you can drink plain water with Invisalign aligners in your mouth as long as the water is cold or room temperature and not hot. In fact, if you find you’re having dry mouth with Invisalign, taking a few sips of water can help. So feel free to sip away!
What Else Can You Drink With Invisalign Aligners In?
Drinking with Invisalign isn’t recommended for anything aside from the plain water we just talked about and you should remove your aligners before you have any other beverage. Even if you just add a squeeze of lemon to your water, the natural acids from the lemon can work their way in between your teeth and your aligners.
Regardless of what you have to drink, it’s always a good idea to make sure your teeth are clean before putting your aligners back in. This will ensure you don’t inadvertently leave sugar or starches from your beverage on your pearly whites. It will also help prevent your teeth and/or your aligners from staining. So, after having a drink, brush your teeth. Or, if you have an acidic drink, rinse your mouth out with water really well after and then brush your teeth after about an hour when the pH balance in the mouth has had a chance to return to normal.
What are the Drinks to Avoid With Braces or Invisalign?
You don’t have to give up any drinks completely while you’re straightening your teeth and drinking with Invisalign or braces won’t be much different than it was before you had an appliance. However, in order to avoid cavities and keep your smile healthy, there are some beverages you’ll want to limit and have in moderation, including:
- Sports drinks – Sports drinks, like soda, are full of sugar and tend to be acidic.
- Energy drinks – Both the regular and sugar-free versions of the most popular energy drinks are extremely acidic and damaging to tooth enamel.
- Commercial iced tea and lemonade – Commercial iced tea and lemonade, especially the kind that comes in a can, are, again, acidic and sugary.
- Fruit juice with sugar added – A lot of fruit juices that have added sugar have very little actual juice. While they may taste great, they’re not good for your teeth, particularly during orthodontic treatment.
- Other sugary beverages – If something is high in sugar, like hot chocolate or certain adult beverages, your best bet is saving it for a special occasion.
What are the Best Drinks to Drink With Braces or Invisalign?
When deciding what to drink with braces or Invisalign, opt for drinks that are good for teeth in general. Since you’re investing in your smile, you’ll want your teeth and gums to be in tip-top shape. Some of the best drinks to enjoy are:
- Water – Water is an oral health superhero and should always be the main source of hydration. It helps wash away plaque and food debris and keeps the saliva flowing. Saliva contains minerals that neutralize acids and remineralize the teeth. You will never get cavities from drinking water!
- Milk – Low-fat milk is another good drink for braces wearers since getting enough calcium for teeth is important. Calcium helps strengthen enamel, as well as the supporting bone. In addition to calcium, milk contains vitamin D and phosphates, which are also essential for healthy teeth, gums and bones. Since milk decreases acid levels in plaque, you might want to make a habit of having a glass of it after eating something sugary or starchy. However, milk does contain lactose, a type of sugar, so you can still get cavities if you are drinking milk constantly. If you can’t or don’t want to have dairy, you can get similar nutrients, including calcium for teeth, from unsweetened, fortified, alternative milks, like soy milk or almond milk.
- Unsweetened tea – Unsweetened tea, especially green tea, is another good option for drinking with braces or Invisalign (aligners out, of course). While it can stain the teeth if you drink a lot of it, black tea and green tea contain polyphenols that help eliminate bad bacteria in the mouth. Green tea also has flavonoids that are excellent for periodontal (gum) health and overall oral health.
- 100% fruit juice with no added sugar – It’s okay to drink 100% fruit juice that has no added sugar in small quantities with braces or with your Invisalign aligners out. While there haven’t really been studies performed on older children, teens or adults, research does suggest that there is no increased risk of cavities in kids ages one through five who drank four to six ounces of 100% fruit juice with no added sugar per day. Eating fruit is the better option, but if you’re not eating enough whole fruit, the vitamins in the juice can strengthen your gums and the soft tissues of the mouth, while also reducing inflammation. Just remember to rinse your mouth out after drinking it.
There you have it, everything you ever wanted to know about drinking with Invisalign and braces. If you have more questions or you’re interested in finding out what your teeth-straightening options are, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Alaska, Bothell, Mill Creek or Monroe orthodontist Dr. Richard Chan today!