Patients at Houston Orthodontic Specialists sometimes ask things like can I drink alcohol with braces or can I drink with Invisalign? The answer varies depending on whether you have traditional braces or clear aligners. With traditional braces, they’re bonded to your teeth and they’re typically made of stainless steel or a ceramic material that resists staining, so you can drink whatever you’d like to a certain extent. With Invisalign, you’ll have to remove your aligners (we’ll get to why shortly) before you drink anything aside from cool or room-temperature water.
Drinking and Teeth: the Basics
We all have bacteria in our mouth, some of which is good and some harmful. The harmful bacteria feed off the sugar and starches you eat and drink. When they do this, they release acids that eat away at your tooth enamel and form a sticky substance called plaque. Eventually, this can lead to cavities. This is why it’s best to have drinks like soda, sweetened iced tea, certain cocktails, juice and sports drinks in moderation, whether you’re in orthodontic treatment or not.
Other drinks, such as coffee, tea and red wine, may not have as much sugar as say, soda, but they can stain the teeth. Again, in order to keep your smile looking bright and fresh, you’ll also want to enjoy these in moderation. Some of the worst drinks for your teeth are actually acidic beverages. The acid in drinks, including orange juice, lemonade and white wine, can weaken the tooth enamel, making you more prone to cavities and staining. Adult beverages like mixed drinks with alcohol and fruit juice have the one-two punch of acidity and sugar. While the occasional alcoholic drink is fine, drinking them regularly, particularly if you’re not keeping up with your oral hygiene routine, can have a negative impact on your smile.
What Should I Consider When Drinking With Braces?
Can you drink coffee with braces? Can you drink soda with braces? What about alcohol? Like we mentioned, there are no restrictions when it comes to beverages when you have clear braces or metal braces. Drinking with braces won’t damage your bracket and wires. That being said, wearing braces does make you more susceptible to plaque build-up because there are extra nooks and crannies for plaque and bacteria to hide. This is why we usually recommend that our Houston braces patients limit their intake of sugary drinks and acidic beverages, including soda, mixed alcoholic beverages and sports drinks. Getting cavities at any point in your life is no fun, however, getting cavities while you’re in braces, could cause your treatment to go longer than it would have. Plus, teeth move most efficiently in a healthy oral environment.
Beyond sugary drinks, you’ll want to be careful when drinking coffee with braces (that goes for tea, red wine, cranberry juice or anything else dark colored too). These types of beverages can stain your teeth. Since you have brackets covering portions of your teeth, when your braces come off, you could have a two-toned smile depending on how frequently you’re drinking them.
What Can I Drink With Invisalign?
Just like with braces, you can drink whatever you want with Invisalign but only when you’re not wearing your aligners. It’s extremely important to take your aligners out to drink anything aside from plain water. Here’s why:
- Invisalign aligners are crafted from clear plastic. Drinking coffee with Invisalign or any other hot beverage can cause the plastic to warp. The effectiveness of Invisalign depends on the fit. If the plastic warps and the fit is off, your teeth won’t get the necessary force to achieve the movements your orthodontist programmed into that set of aligners. This can compromise your results or mean you’ll have to wear that tray again.
- Drinking something sugary or acidic with Invisalign aligners in your mouth or drinking and then immediately putting your aligners back in without rinsing your mouth out, can lead to cavities or erosion of your tooth enamel. The aligners fit snugly against the teeth and will trap the sugar or acid, holding it against your teeth for a longer period of time, potentially causing more damage. It won’t get washed away like it normally would by your saliva. Drinking alcohol with Invisalign or having the occasional glass of soda is fine but only if you’ve taken your aligners out and rinse your mouth out after.
- Drinking with Invisalign aligners in your mouth will cause the plastic to stain if you’re having things like coffee, red wine or tea. This kind of defeats the purpose of having virtually invisible treatment since your aligners will be noticeable.
How Can I Prevent Issues From Drinking With Invisalign or Braces?
- To keep cavities, staining and other issues at bay, when drinking with Invisalign or braces, follow these tips:
- Take your Invisalign aligners out and put them in their case before having a drink.
- Avoid the temptation to sip slowly or nurse a drink over the course of several hours. While, of course, you don’t want to drink too quickly when having an alcoholic beverage, at least when it comes to soda or sports drinks, drink it in one sitting. Otherwise, the remineralization process doesn’t get a chance to spring into action and the acids have more time to damage your teeth.
- Drink lots of water. Drinking water will wash away some of the sugar, acid and plaque. It also stimulates saliva, which is important for neutralizing plaque acids and keeping teeth healthy.
- Before putting your aligners back in, if you can, swish some water around in your mouth and then spit it out after having a drink. If you’re out for a night on the town enjoying adult beverages, whether you have braces or Invisalign, occasionally rinsing your mouth out can’t hurt.
- Don’t skimp on your oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Floss once a day as well.
- Remember, everything in moderation. A glass of wine or coffee is perfectly fine but moderation is the key to a healthy smile.
Now that you’re a pro when it comes to beverages and your smile, if you’re interested in Invisalign or braces in Houston, schedule a complimentary consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today!