Most people think that whether or not you use a drinking straw is purely a matter of personal preference. Some individuals love straws for their fun and fashionable nature. Others enjoy sipping their beverages directly. But did you know that drinking through a straw can actually protect your teeth? Continue reading to find out how that is the case.
How Beverages Affect Your Teeth
A number of beverages are harmless, or perhaps even helpful, when they come into direct contact with your teeth. For example, water is great at rinsing away unwanted food debris, and milk is also known to be beneficial.
Other drinks, though, can cause damage when they contact your tooth enamel. For example, things like sports drinks and sodas tend to have large amounts of acid and sugar, which can erode your enamel and contribute to cavities. Even non-sugary beverages, like black coffee, run the risk of damaging your smile due to their acid content. Additionally, highly pigmented drinks could stain your tooth enamel.
How to Minimize the Damage
Of course, the most reliable way to protect your teeth from certain beverages is to abstain from those beverages altogether. However, for most people, it is not realistic to ask them to give up their morning cup of coffee or say a permanent goodbye to their favorite fruit juice.
When you do choose to indulge in beverages that might harm your teeth, it would be wise to drink them through a straw. A straw reduces the amount of contact between your teeth and the liquids you drink. It can therefore help to reduce your risk of cavities, stains, and enamel erosion.
Tips for Drinking Through a Straw
Would you like to incorporate straw usage into your routine? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- It is best not to use disposable plastic straws. In recent years, plastic straws have come under scrutiny for their undesirable environmental impact. You may find it beneficial to purchase a reusable straw with a carrying case that you can bring with you when you are on the go. (Make sure to clean your reusable straw after each use.)
- Finish your drinks relatively quickly. You do not have to guzzle your drinks, but it would be wise not to linger over them for too long. The longer you take to finish a beverage, the longer your teeth are exposed to acids.
- Do not always use a straw. Most of the time, straws are great for dental health. The exception is if you have recently undergone a major dental procedure, such as a tooth extraction. The use of a straw can disrupt blood clots and lead to complications.
Are you looking for ways to protect your smile? Try using straws more often to keep your teeth in great shape!
Meet the Practice
New Haven Dental has been serving our area for decades. We are always happy to offer advice on how our patients can protect their teeth. If you have questions or concerns about your dental health, contact our Woodbridge office at 203-409-2535.