At Koch Orthodontics, the team is no stranger to the question “Can I drink soda while I’m in braces?” (Or “energy drinks,” “seltzers,”  “sparkling water?” etc)

Brands, flavors, and concoctions may change over time, but our stance on these beverages remains the same… if it’s sugary and acidic, it is best to avoid consuming it while you’re undergoing  treatment. 



Acid And Sugar: Double Trouble

It’s a given – sugar erodes your teeth and causes cavities. Most of us, however –  whether or not we profess to have a “sweet tooth” – will consume some sort of food or beverage with some amount of sugar in it daily.

Some patients assume that because soda, energy drinks, and other sugary beverages are liquid, they don’t pose the risk to braces (and teeth) that gummy, gelatinous, or crunchy foods do.

In reality, the threat these beverages pose is two-fold:

First, the Sugar Content:

Your typical 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola has approximately 39 grams of sugar; a standard 8 oz can of Red Bull energy drink has 37 grams. Both equate to, approximately, 3 tablespoons worth of sugar.

Bacterial plaque that builds up on your teeth uses the sugar you consume to grow. Plaque expels acid as a by-product, which stains the surface of the tooth. Plaque build-up, if not managed with adequate brushing, can lead to the decalcification and “rotting” of your teeth.

Speaking of acid…

The acidity in many common beverages can also harm tooth enamel. The carbonated “bubbling fizziness” that gives these beverages their distinct taste is caused by a chemical reaction caused by water and carbonic phosphoric acid.

This acid sticks to your teeth, and enough of it, without brushing, can seriously soften and erode a tooth’s enamel. This is why, unfortunately, not even diet soda warrants an “okay to enjoy” while you undergo treatment… a sugar-free carbonated drink still contains a lot of acid!

It is this combination of bacterial plaque absorbing the sugar in these beverages, the acid produced by the plaque, and the carbonic acid that all equal problems for your teeth as you undergo orthodontic treatment.

How Sodas and Other Acidic Drinks Affect Orthodontic Appliances

A major case for abstaining against soda drinking during treatment is white marks – decalcification spots – where plaque has collected around the brackets and is not routinely cleaned. Think of it as similar to a “tan-line” on your teeth.  These spots are permanent. 

In theory – a patient who consumed lots of sugar during treatment and had their braces taken off could indeed have straight teeth, but may bear these discolored spots once the brackets are removed.

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Can I Drink Soda With Removable Invisalign Aligners?

We recommend Invisalign wearers maintain the same diligence and abstain from drinking soda during their treatment.

While it may seem “no harm, no foul” to occasionally take a sip of a Coke, Sprite or Red Bull, the Invisalign aligner tray acts as a well for the beverages’ acids to sit in.

When you seat the aligner on your teeth, any acid that has welled in the aligner will make itself comfortable on your teeth, just like it would around an orthodontic bracket. Consuming sugary drinks is less problematic with Invisalign versus traditional braces, but again – we recommend Invisalign wearers use good discretion here and avoid these beverages.

Is Plain Sparkling Water okay to drink while wearing braces?

Plain, “nothing else added to it” sparkling carbonated water should not pose an immediate effect on your teeth and appliances during orthodontic treatment, but you may wish to refrain from drinking regularly, as it does increase the chance of tooth decay over time. Regular flouridated water is your safest bet for drinks during orthodontic treatment.

Parents – Be a “Beverage-Conscious” Role Model for Your Child

We understand that steering clear of sweet drinks can be challenging for patients of any age. Birthday parties, sports and recreational activities, and even an afternoon at a friend’s house may invite the chance to consume a sugary drink.

Parents: monitor and curtail your own sugar intake while your child is in treatment… show them they are not alone in giving up everyday foods while they work hard to achieve the straight healthy smile they deserve. They will pattern their own behavior after the discipline you exhibit (yes, even teenagers!)

Questions about Food and Drink During Treatment?

Contact us if you have any questions regarding dietary restrictions or possible food, drink, or meal substitutes as you or your family member maintain your orthodontic treatment. Remember – straightening your smile is a team effort, and we are here for you!

Contact our office through our website, or call us at 585-243-3174. 

If you feel you or a family member may benefit from orthodontic treatment, contact Koch Orthodontics today. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for an inside look at who we are, and what we do!