If you are wearing traditional braces, you probably know to stay away from certain foods like nuts, popcorn and sticky candy. But what about your drink? Some of the same beverages, like soda, that can damage your teeth without braces can be a bigger threat to your dental health during orthodontics. Here’s a closer look at why sugary carbonated beverages should be avoided or minimized while you are in braces.
The Acid Attack
The trouble with soda is its acidity and sugar. The acid in your favorite soft drink goes to work immediately on your teeth to pull calcium out of your tooth enamel. This process of decalcification can make your teeth softer and less protected against cavities. Keep in mind that this is irreversible damage – once enamel is gone, it doesn’t grow back.
While soft drinks (as well as energy drinks and sports drinks) can cause enamel erosion in any smile, they are especially damaging to those that have fixed orthodontic appliances or braces. Your brackets and wires are difficult to clean around. The liquid sugars and acids in what you drink can seep into places that are very difficult to clean with your toothbrush or floss. This allows the soda to linger on your teeth for longer periods of time and do more damage as it sits there. In result, you may get your braces off and discover that your straight teeth are streaked with white marks. This is a sign of the decalcification that occurred while you were wearing brackets and bands. You may also hear your dentist say that you have tooth decay or gingivitis due to the buildup of sugars on your teeth.
How Acidic is Your Drink?
Your coke is not the only beverage to be aware of. You may not even realize that your favorite drink is acidic, so it is important to have a basic understanding of the pH level of certain beverages. Pure water has a neutral pH rating of 7, with milk following closely behind at 6.7. A regular Coke, however, has a pH of 2.6. To put this in perspective, battery acid is ranked at a 1.0 pH!
Don’t Sabotage Your Orthodontic Investment
Wearing braces involves a sacrifice of money, time and comfort. While it is not ideal to forgo your favorite beverage while wearing braces, it is important that you do everything you can to protect your orthodontic investment. If you must enjoy an acidic or highly sugared drink on occasion, try your best to rinse with water afterwards to minimize the damage on your tooth enamel. Call Schatz Orthodontics for more tips on establishing healthy habits during your braces treatment.
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22610 US Highway 281 North, Suite 201
San Antonio, TX 78258
Phone: (210) 494-4606