Soft drinks, including regular & diet soda, and other sweetened beverages such as fruit juices, sweet tea, and sports/energy beverages, weaken tooth enamel. The acid and sugar in these drinks can be extremely damaging; even more so with braces. Soft Drinks + Braces = A Recipe for Disaster!
How do soft drinks affect teeth with braces?
Soft drinks contain acids that pull calcium out of your enamel. This makes the tooth soft to the touch. Decalcification is the process of acid dissolving tooth enamel. Once enamel dissolves, it does not come back. White marks like these are the result of decalcification and are permanent. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film made up of bacteria, food debris, and saliva that forms on your teeth. Plaque uses sugar and starches as food, and expels acid as a by-product, creating a stain on the surface of the tooth. If plaque is not removed regularly by brushing and flossing, the build-up can lead to decalcification, cavities, gum disease, and loss of the bone that holds teeth in place. Coupled with acid that is present in soft drinks, drinking liquids containing sugar doubles the risk to tooth enamel.
Can these drinks affect teeth while wearing aligners too?
Yes! Liquids seep into aligners when you drink and the liquid is held against the teeth until aligners are removed. It’s best to remove aligners when drinking anything besides water.
What can you do to prevent decalcification and decay?
- Avoid soft drinks & sweetened beverages
- If you choose to drink sweetened beverages, use a straw and swish with water after drinking
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste once a day before sleeping
- After brushing before sleeping, drink only water
- Get regular six-month dental checkups and cleanings
- There is absolutely no substitute for BRUSHING YOUR TEETH!
It is recommended you avoid soft drinks during your orthodontic treatment to keep your teeth healthy and strong so you finish your treatment with a healthy, beautiful smile. Visit the American Association of Orthodontists for more information.