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Can A Straw Protect My Teeth?

June 5, 2023

someone drinking through a straw

If there’s one guilty habit many people share, it’s drinking things that aren’t the best for their teeth. Whether you like coffee, wine, soda, tea, or even fruit juice, you might be doing a little bit of damage to your smile while trying to hydrate.

You might have heard that using a straw to drink these liquids can reduce some of the negative effects that they have on your teeth. If you want to know more about that prospect, here’s some information you may find useful.

How Drinking With a Straw Protects Your Oral Health

The reason why drinking with a straw is considered to be helpful in preventing the effects of sugary drinks is simple—taking a sip from a glass requires the liquid to pass through your teeth while drinking with a straw does not. As a consequence, what you drink spends considerably less time in actual contact with your enamel, reducing the effects it has.

Of course, drinking something with a straw is not the same thing as not drinking it at all. It can, however, reduce some of the harmful outcomes of certain drinks.

What Can Drinking With a Straw Help You Avoid?

While what you eat is critically important to the integrity of your oral health, you can face just as many (if not more) problems as a consequence of what you drink.

For one, dark liquids like coffee and red wine are notorious for leaving stains behind on the teeth, and the longer they sit on your enamel the deeper those stains will be able to penetrate. By using a straw, those pigments spend considerably less time actually on your enamel. The same can be said for acidic drinks, like soda and fruit juice, that can corrode your teeth.

Surgical Aftercare & Dry Socket

While on the subject, it’s good to point out that there are circumstances where drinking with a straw is a bad idea: namely, after dental surgery. If you have a clot in your mouth after a tooth extraction, using a straw can pull it out of place and expose the wound, causing a condition known as dry socket.

That said, it’s absolutely true that a straw can help you to avoid some serious oral health problems if you know how, and when, to use it.

About the Author

Dr. Parsia Koleini is passionate about providing thorough, comprehensive care to his patients. He makes it a point to get to know his patients on a personal level so that he can tailor treatment to their exact smile goals. Dr. Koleini received his degree from the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, and he is currently a member of both the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry.

If you have any questions about how your diet affects your oral health, he can be reached at his website or by phone at (978) 650-2793.

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