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.
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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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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:
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!
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