Updated: May 19
You can certainly drink soda with braces since it won't affect your ability to drink it nor will it damage the wires and brackets. However, having braces on does not protect your teeth from the effects of the sugars and acids in the soda. Therefore the question isn't so much about can you drink soda with braces but rather should you drink it?
Table of Contents:
Can you drink soda with braces?
Yes, you can drink soda with braces because the pop is unable to harm nor damage the braces. Since the braces are made of metal, it would require a much stronger acid than what soda contains to be able to damage them. Your stomach acid can dissolve metal since it has a pH of 1-2. The typical soda only has a pH of 2.5-3.5, which isn't quite acidic enough to melt through the braces.
The only effect the soda would have on the brackets and wires would be causing them to stain if you drink an excessive amount of soda. That is the furthest extent that the sugary beverage can have on your wires.
Therefore, you ARE able to drink soda with braces, however whether you should do it is another story.
Should you drink soda with braces?
Soda has always been harmful to your teeth due to the sugars and acid within it and the braces do nothing to protect your teeth from it. Even with the braces on the soda will still bathe your teeth in sugar and acid since the brackets and wires don't cover the entire surfaces of your teeth.
Therefore whether you should drink soda has nothing to do with the braces but everything to do with how they can harm your teeth. The soda can harm your teeth by causing tooth decay and white spots around the braces. The greater the frequency and quantity of soda consumption, the greater the chances for getting them.
You can still get cavities from drinking soda even with braces on because they don't protect your teeth from the sugar. Tooth decay can still form on the teeth underneath the braces and also around it when you consume a lot of sugar.
The bacteria use the sugar as a fuel to create cavities and the unprotected surfaces of your teeth. Since you can get cavities from drinking soda, you should reconsider how much of it you should drink while you have braces on.
If you happen to get a cavity while in braces, you will need a cavity filling and that may delay your braces treatment. You will need to pause your orthodontic treatment to get the cavity filled before you can continue again.
White spots around braces
Drinking a lot of soda with braces can cause white spots to form around your braces, which are pre-cavities. They are also aesthetically unpleasant once you remove the braces after you complete orthodontic treatment.
These white spots are pre-cavities that are trying to form but haven't quite matured into a full cavity. It is basically the enamel being demineralized. They may or may not progress to full cavities but the problem with them is that they are close to impossible to remove once they have formed.
Our dentists have tried a variety of techniques to fix the white spots from braces but haven't been too successful. We've tried non-invasive techniques which varied in success but the most predictable would be porcelain veneers. Of course, that is a much more invasive procedure since you have to drill a way a thin layer of your front enamel to create room for the veneers.
So if you drink a lot of soda with braces, you may end up with a mouth full of veneers just to correct the cosmetic appearance of the white spots. If you thought the braces were expensive, you should see the price tag for the veneers!
Due to the potential for cavities and white spots forming around your braces, our dentists recommend that you should limit the quantity and frequency of soda drinking while undergoing braces treatment. This applies to all types of sodas while wearing braces.
Although if you had to have your carbonated soda fix, we would recommend the type of sugar free soda to drink with braces on since they don't have sugar. Even though sugar free sodas don't have sugar, they can still cause cavities when drank in large quantities just because they are still acidic. Bacteria that cause cavities work the most effectively in acidic environments so don't give them the perfect place to work!
What about drinking soda through a straw with braces?
Are you thinking that you can solve the soda problem if you just drink it through a straw with braces on? Drinking soda through a straw while wearing braces can potentially help a little bit in preventing cavities and white spots but it won't eliminate the risk because some of the sugar will still come into contact with your teeth.
The overall pH level of your mouth will still drop to acidic levels while you consume these beverages. The acidity in your mouth caused by the sodas will still create an optimal environment for the bacteria to form cavities.
Therefore, using a straw does not completely eliminate the risk for cavities nor white spots. They may potentially be helpful in decreasing the amount of soda from coming into contact with your teeth so use straws if you can!
Hopefully that answers your question of whether or not you can drink soda with braces. To summarize, you can drink soda with braces since it does not prevent you from physically doing so.
However you should be wary about the effects of soda on your teeth since braces does not protect them from cavities and white spots. Using a straw may potentially help mitigate the effects of soda on your teeth but you should still drink with prudence.
Author: Written by a LIC dentist, Dr David Chen DDS.