You’re at a birthday party with your friends. The music is bumping and the soft drinks are flowing. Your friend hands you a glass of purple Crush. You love grape pop but you just got braces. What do you do? Whether you are sporting traditional braces or Invisalign aligner trays, soft drinks can pose a real risk to your oral health. In this week’s article, we are going to discuss exactly how pop is damaging and how you can make smarter choices.
It’s no surprise that soft drinks are full of sweeteners. In fact, a single can of Coke contains 7 teaspoons of the sweet stuff! However, it’s not really sugar itself that causes tooth decay, but a chain reaction that produces acid. When you drink a can of pop, the sugar comes into contact with your teeth, and ultimately the plaque on your teeth. The bacteria living on this plaque feeds on the sugar and then releases acid as a byproduct. The acid in turn eats away at your tooth enamel. Gross, right?
If you wear braces, there are just some places that your toothbrush or floss won’t be able to reach. Liquids like pop can easily slide into all the tiny spaces in between your teeth and brackets, wreaking havoc without you even knowing. Those with Invisalign need to be careful not to consume soft drinks while wearing their aligner trays. Not only will this trap the sugars between the trays and teeth for an extended period of time, but the colourful drinks will discolour your plastic aligners.
With all this in mind, should you give up drinking soft drinks forever? Not necessarily. There are a few things you can do to mitigate that chain reaction. For starters, cut down on how often you drink pop. Make it a treat instead of a staple beverage. When you do indulge, drink a glass of water immediately after or even brush your teeth. This will ensure that the bacteria in your mouth doesn’t have much time to bind to the sugar. If you’re looking for an alternative to sugary drinks, beware of artificial sweeteners. According to a recent study in Australia, these drinks are just as bad!
You don’t need to cut out soft drinks entirely while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, but practicing moderation will do wonders for your oral health! Drink lots of water and keep your teeth and orthodontic appliances clean. For more advice and tips, ask our expert staff on your next visit to our office!