Drinking your beverages through a straw may help prevent certain oral health issues, but don’t fall for the assumption that they are the answer to consuming unhealthy drinks. Using a straw the right way can be great for your oral health, but incorrect use can cause even more damage than drinking without a straw.
The Benefits of Using a Straw
If you consume acidic drinks, using a straw may help decrease some of the damage caused to your anterior teeth. The liquid bypasses your front teeth, limiting the stains that soda, tea, and certain juices may cause.
Positioning the straw perfectly in your mouth may even help avoid damage to your posterior teeth. Positioning the straw so that the liquid doesn’t touch any teeth and goes right to your throat can help eliminate the risk of excessive sugar and acids eating away at your enamel.
If you drink water with a straw, you not only hydrate your body, but protect your teeth at the same time. The concentrated flow of water over your teeth and tongue may help wash away debris and bacteria that would otherwise turn into plaque and eat away at your enamel.
The Disadvantages of Using a Straw
Just as positioning the straw perfectly can help your teeth, not positioning it correctly could put certain anterior teeth in danger of excessive decay. If the positioning of the straw allows acidic and sugary drinks to pool on a few anterior teeth, those teeth may decay faster.
Some patients assume if they use a straw that they can consume acidic and sugary drinks more often. Instead of water, they choose soda, tea, and juice. Not only do the sugary/acidic drinks cause damage to your teeth, but they cause damage to your physical health when excessively consumed.
The concentration of the sugary drinks that hit your tongue still affects your teeth, no matter where you position the straw. Any liquid that you consume has to pass over your tongue and your tongue gets in constant contact with your teeth, putting your teeth at risk again.
Choose your drinks wisely, with or without a straw. Choosing water over soda, tea, and juice helps eliminate the risk of excessive decay and keeps your saliva production high. If you do consume the occasional soda, juice, or tea, use a straw and position it so that the sugar and acid don’t hit your teeth.
Call the staff at River Valley Smile Center at 479-646-0706 if you have any more questions straws and your oral health. We’d be happy to answer your questions today.