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Do straws help to protect your teeth against sugary drinks?

Plastic straws have been in the news lately as more and more venues announce they will be dropping them to cut down on plastic pollution.

The attention drawn to plastic straws has also ignited the debate about whether drinking with a straw is better for your teeth.

While there is no doubt that single use plastic products such as straws are no good for the planet – destroying ocean life, which mistake it for food, some people believe they are helpful to dental health.

The short answer is ‘no, they’re not really’ and of course if you absolutely must use a straw then it is time to adjust to paper straws.

Avoiding decay

Many people believe that because a straw takes sugary drinks and alcohol straight past your front teeth it will stop that sugar causing the bacteria that eventually leads to decay.

The problem is that while the drink may whizz past your front teeth through the straw it will still make its way into your mouth when it emerges from the straw making contact with teeth, gums and tongue where the sugar will remain.

After all we enjoy drinks because we can taste them and if a drink did not make contact with your mouth, well, you wouldn’t be able to taste it.

The only way to avoid a drink touching your teeth would be to position a straw so far back in the mouth that it was beyond the teeth. In effect this would mean tipping the drink straight down your throat without being able to taste it.

Make a better choice

Rather than rely on ways to circumvent the effects of fizzy drinks on teeth a better option is to make a healthier choice, such as water, milk or green tea.

If you do drink sugary or acidic beverages the best way to minimise the effect on your mouth is to drink water to dilute the bacteria left behind.

At the end of the day it is about making the right choices.

If you are concerned about your dental health get in touch with Bhandal Dental Surgery.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

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