In recent years, there’s been an environmental fight against the use of non-reusable plastic straws. These one-time use straws make up about 7% of plastic product waste in the U.S., so there is a need to talk about how much we actually need straws. Now, while your dentist in Madison is in support of making small changes to help the environment, we also know that there are some great oral health benefits of drinking out of a straw.
Before we go any further, we want to encourage our patients and neighbors to find a friendly alternative to plastic straws. There are many reusable straws available nowadays and there are even some fit for travel. Find a few that you like and use them to save the planet and reap the oral health benefits. It’s a win-win!
Straws & Teeth
Ok, now back to the teeth stuff. We know that you must be thinking, “How can a thin tube benefit my oral health?” Well, it comes down to how much liquid touches teeth using a straw versus sipping directly out of a cup. Drinking beverages through a straw can limit the amount of liquid that comes in contact with your teeth, and therefore, how much risk there is for damage. Choosing to go without a straw basically bathes your pearly whites in whatever it is you’re drinking. This means that your drink of choice is left lingering on your teeth’s surfaces long after your cup is empty, increasing the likelihood of developing some unwanted oral health side effects.
Many beverages contain coloring additives or are naturally colored. These drinks of choice can easily stain teeth and cause discoloration. To help avoid this, drink any colorful beverage with a straw. If your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like, whether because of dark drinks or not, talk to your dentist in Madison about smile whitening options.
One of the worst things for teeth is acid. Acid can easily erode enamel and leave teeth exposed to the danger of additional acid and bacteria. This can result in increased tooth sensitivity and other concerns.
Cavities can also result from a lack of enamel as well as from having too much sugary or acidic liquids come in contact with teeth.
The Worst Drinks for Teeth
Not all drinks are bad for teeth, but there are some top contenders. These drinks should be enjoyed moderately and with a straw if at all possible.
It’s our responsibility to advise our patients and neighbors on everything they can do to help keep their smiles healthy. Drinking out of a straw is a simple change you can make to protect your teeth against decay, sensitivity, cavities, and other problems. Of course, it’s always important to brush and floss every day and see your dentist in Madison every six months.