Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” When it comes to your teeth, that is especially true. Whatever you eat or drink stays in your mouth, and may cause issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, staining, cavities, etc. However, there are easy tips that we give to our Santa Monica dentistry clients at their appointments that can help with preventing these problems and improving their smiles. One of the best pieces of advice we can provide is drinking from a straw. Below are four benefits from using a straw.

Benefit #1 – Prevent Tooth Decay

It’s hard to believe that a drinking straw can play a big role in preventing tooth decay, but it is true! The May/June 2005 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) found that consuming soft drinks through a straw prevents cavities from forming. Why is that? The answer is simple. Drinks, such as colas, juices and canned ice teas, contain sugar, acids and flavor additives, which stick to your teeth and gums, causing tooth decay.

The best advice our Santa Monica dentistry professionals can give is to avoid these drinks altogether, and stick to water. However, if you still choose to drink them, use a straw and place it so that the liquid goes to the back of your mouth. This will limit the erosive ingredients from bathing most of your teeth, except some in the back, and will help prevent tooth decay.

Benefit #2 – Prevent Staining of Teeth

Just as with tooth decay and cavities, the ingredients in some drinks can cause the staining of teeth. Any dark liquid that you consume, such as Pepsi, Coke, coffee, or tea, can leave stains on your teeth. When you use a drinking straw, your direct the liquid to the back of your mouth, avoiding that frequent contact with your front teeth. It’s important to remember to use caution when using a drinking straw with hot beverages as not to burn yourself.  This is one of the best pieces of advice we can give to those that want to avoid spending money on teeth whitening products.

Drinking straw

Drinking straw

Benefit #3 – Prevent Spreading of Germs and Bacteria

Unless you are using a paper or plastic cup, you are relying on the cleanliness of a restaurant, coffee shop, or your own dishwasher when drinking from a cup. A dirty cup can contain germs and/or bacteria that can affect not only your oral health, but your overall health, as well. A drinking straw is almost always individually wrapped to prevent exposure to germs, and, therefore, is very useful in the prevention of spreading diseases.

Benefit #4 – Prevent Choking

Have you ever thought that a simple drinking straw can save your life? Well, it’s true, folks! A straw limits the amount of liquid you intake at one time, preventing you from choking. A straw is especially beneficial for smaller children, whose sippy and training cups often come with plastic straws. This controls how much soda or water they take in with every gulp.

For more information about this blog, contact Hale & Hale, DDS.