Most people think that whether or not you drink through a straw is a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy straws and view them as fun and fashionable, whereas others would prefer to sip their drinks directly. However, when you are consuming certain beverages, it is actually better to opt for a straw because doing so can protect your teeth. How is that the case? This blog post explains.
How Beverages Affect Your Teeth
Some beverages, like water and milk, cause little to no harm when they come into direct contact with your teeth. Other items, though, run the risk of contributing to certain oral health problems. Here are a few examples:
- Coffee, tea, cola, and certain fruit juices are highly pigmented. Excessive contact with your teeth could stain your enamel.
- Sodas, sports drinks, juice, and similar items tend to be highly acidic. They can cause your tooth enamel to erode, eventually leading to heightened dental sensitivity.
- Lattes, soda pop, juices, and cocktails often contain high amounts of sugar. When sugar interacts with bacteria in your mouth, it can lead to plaque formation and tooth decay.
How to Minimize the Damage
Of course, it would be ideal for your dental health if you completely avoid beverages that could harm your teeth. However, no one really expects you to give up your daily cup of coffee or forsake your favorite fruit juice. When you choose to enjoy such items, you can minimize the potential for damage to your teeth by consuming them through a straw.
A straw reduces the amount of contact that liquids have with your teeth. Therefore, you are protecting your teeth from sugar, acid, and pigments that have the potential to harm your smile or adversely affect its aesthetics.
Tips for Drinking Through a Straw
Here are some tips you can apply to protect your teeth and enjoy other benefits when you are drinking through a straw:
- Do not use disposable plastic straws. You can reduce your environmental impact by purchasing a reusable straw. If it has a carrying case, you can even bring it with you to restaurants. (You should also purchase cleaning tools that will allow you to thoroughly clean your straw after each use.)
- Finish your beverage quickly. Lingering over a sugary or acidic beverage extends the amount of time that your teeth are exposed to harmful substances. Try to finish your drinks relatively quickly.
- Remember that there are some exceptions. You should never use a drinking straw while you are recovering from a tooth extraction. The suction action might dislodge your blood clot and lead to complications.
Do you want to enjoy the healthiest smile possible? Drinking through a straw might just help you accomplish that worthwhile goal.
Meet the Practice
The oral health experts at New Haven Dental Group are proud to educate our patients on steps they can take to maintain healthy teeth. If you would like to learn more about how you can protect your smile from harm, we would be pleased to answer your questions. Contact our Branford office at 203-439-6895.