Published on August 7, 2018, Updated on August 7, 2018
There are many food items you want to avoid when you have metal, ceramic or lingual braces on your teeth. However, there are various drinks that can be just as harmful to your health. Soda, especially, can be incredibly damaging to your tooth enamel. Find out why and what other drinks can harm your tooth enamel!
Almost half of all Americans (48% of them) drink soda every single day, including children. Most of those Americans are drinking several glasses a day too. Not only can this be bad for your health because of the amount of sugar you’re ingesting, but drinking soda can also significantly damage your teeth.
You get a double whammy drinking soda. First, most sodas contain very high amounts of sugar—like, several candy bar’s worth. What’s worse is that most people can drink that soda down in just a few gulps! Sugar is terrible for your teeth, as sugar mixes with bacteria in the mouth to create plaque. That plaque is what decays your teeth, and the more sugar you ingest, the more plaque your mouth makes.
However, sugar isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when drinking soda. Many people love the fizzy bubbles that gives soda that tasty bite. However, that fizziness is caused by a chemical reaction taking place between water and carbonic acid. When you pop open a can or bottle of soda, this reaction happens, creating bubbles. That acid in carbonation sticks to your teeth and erodes your tooth enamel. The more you’re drinking soda, the thinner your tooth enamel becomes and the more your teeth decay. Any drink with acid in it is a drink you want to avoid, as it will strip your teeth of minerals, changing how strong they are and how they look.
The Oral Health Foundation reports that drinks with carbonation can stain the metal brackets of your teeth. They can also cause strange stains and erosion on your teeth when your braces come off. If you choose metal or ceramic braces, you will have the braces bonded to your teeth. Those parts of the teeth covered with the bonding material will not come in contact with carbonation or acids from juices and fruit. However, all the surrounding tooth surfaces will. That means if you’re drinking soda or carbonation during braces, you can erode the tooth enamel that is showing.
Depending on the dyes in the sodas and juices, you might be staining your tooth surfaces as they erode. When your braces come off, you might be left with small squares from the brackets that don’t match the rest of your teeth. You can also be left with staining and cratered parts of your teeth where the enamel wore away. Weaker, eroded teeth are also susceptible to dental emergencies, and nobody wants a broken or cracked tooth with braces. Fixing dental emergencies like these are much more difficult with metal appliances in your mouth. To recap, drinking soda with braces won’t only slowly destroy your tooth enamel, but it will also affect the metal of your braces.
The whole point of getting braces is to achieve a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, you won’t be achieving that smile if you don’t watch what you eat and take care of your braces. Milk and water are the safest drinks for your braces. Drinking soda, juices and sparkling water will only damage your teeth, so avoid them if you can. If you can’t give up drinking soda, at least use a straw and don’t let the soda sit in your mouth. That will reduce the amount of acid and dyes coming in contact with your teeth.
Most importantly, take care of your teeth through excellent brushing and flossing! Brush for at least 2 minutes with a soft-bristled brush, making sure to brush at 45-degree angles in all directions. Brush your teeth more than the recommended 2 times a day. Aim for after every meal and limit your snacking between meals so you have less plaque buildup on your teeth.
Also floss your teeth every single day! Flossing gets 40% of your tooth surfaces that are missed if you skip flossing. Even though it takes longer to floss with braces, it is worth the sparkly smile you’ll get when your braces come off. Make sure to keep up-to-date with your dental and orthodontic visits to spot trouble signs of erosion.
It can be hard to skip the soda if you really love the fizzy pop of soda bubbles. However, cutting out soda and sugar will significantly reduce the amount of oral health problems you have not only with braces but without as well. Nobody wants to spend 18-24 months straightening their smile only to find that their tooth enamel is weak or eroded. For more tips about how you can take care of your braces, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!