Beverages to be avoided when having braces on!!
Orthodontic treatment is common in both children and adults. They type of treatment and appliance advocated may vary from patient to patient, but majority of them treated wear fixed appliances for a certain period of time. Therefore, it is necessary to make some diet modifications to protect the braces as well as to ensure the health of the tissues in the mouth. It is wise to avoid or eliminate a list of beverages for this very reason.
What type of drinks to avoid?
Drinks suggestive of causing dental decay by your dentist should be restricted while having braces on. This includes drinks high in sugar and acid. If high sugary food is to be consumed, it is limited to meal times or once in a day. The mouth produces more saliva during meals which, in turn help to neutralize the acids and rinse food from mouth. In between snacks should be confined to those without refined sugar and avoided if possible.
- Fizzy/ soft drinks – sodas especially cola
- Sports drinks – isotonic and energy drinks
- Fruit juices – lemon juice has citric acid
- Sweetened liquids – syrup and honey
Why these drinks should be avoided?
The hazard behind fizzy drinks is not the staining but the high acidic content. Cola contains phosphoric acid which has the tendency to erode the enamel (the hard protective layer covering the tooth). It is best to save this for an occasional treat even if you are not wearing braces. Sugary substance has acid as its major ingredient and is bad for health. Sugar acts both on the outer surface and inner surface of the teeth through blood. Braces will correct your teeth alignment giving you a perfect set of beautiful teeth but sugar may act to cause dental decay. For instance, even tea can stain teeth when taken regularly and the result, whiter shade of teeth in places where your braces were sitting on. These are called demineralised spots potential for decay. Whitening gel bought over the counter can solve this problem and the stains vanish in a matter of time. You can even try professional whitening treatment if the stains are dark and difficult to remove. Individuals are advised to cut down on soft drinks for the better health of both the teeth and body system. Fizzy drinks can stain the orthodontic brackets. If you were to feed on them, avoid constant sipping and drink using a straw instead. Make sure to rinse your mouth afterwards.
Sports drinks may surprisingly contain high levels of sugar. Acidic preservatives being a major ingredient here can lead to weakening of the tooth structure. They were assumed to be healthy since it was consumed regularly by athletes as an energy booster. Fruit juice has proven to be the wrong choice especially the 100% juices which are naturally acidic and rich in sucrose, the most detrimental type of sugar to cause decay. Therefore, it should be eliminated from the diet where possible. Lemon juice if maintains a contact with tooth for longer periods, can dissolve the surface enamel. Do not chew on ice cubes as they may break the appliance.
What drinks are safe?
Water from the tap is proven to be the best. It is a natural source and is rich in fluoride. 6-8 glasses of water per day will keep you away from sugary drinks and fatty foods high in sugar. It helps to wash away food coloring and chemicals and sugars consumed from soda. This feature is absent with mineral water. Milk is another alternative, low in sugar and acids, with an added benefit high in calcium, keeping your teeth and bone strong and healthy. Drinks like 7up do not have these acids.
What if you are an invisalign braces wearer?
If you are in the course of treatment with invisalign braces, you are advised to wear them for around 22hours a day for maximum effect and to take them off only during meal times and cleaning. Drinking clear fluids are allowed but tea, coffee ,wine and other colored beverages may not be a good idea. Cool water will help flush out bacteria and its byproducts which maybe potential hazards to the teeth. If coloring from these drinks turn out to be stains on the aligners, the teeth will be wearing the aligners which may have potential health problems on them. If you are keen on having these beverages, it is best to leave out your aligners to avoid unnecessary staining. Clean your teeth the correct way before reinserting the aligners. Plaque, tartar, and other form of debris when accumulated may also result in staining. Very hot beverages are avoided as they may cause your invisalign braces to warp since they are made out of thermoplastic material. If this happens, the shape of the aligners are irreversibly altered and the fit to teeth is distorted instantly. Acidic drinks are avoided as the may seep in the braces and stay there for prolonged time periods and based on its level of acidity, they damage the enamel surface as the minerals are leached out leaving a weaken tooth structure. The invisalign braces form a barrier for salivary action on tooth in its buffering capacity and neutralizing acids. When sugary substance is consumed, there are plenty of food for the plaque bacteria to feed on forming tooth damaging byproducts and leading itself to active tooth decay and gum inflammation.