This summer, businesses around the country began phasing out their plastic straws in an effort to cut down on waste and pollution. While we certainly approve of measures that encourage sustainability and improve the health of our planet, many of our patients have asked if using reusable straws can help keep their teeth healthy. Let’s take a closer look at straws to see how they can benefit or harm your oral health!
Using Reusable Straws
Just about everyone knows that drinking sugary drinks like lemonade or soda can be harmful to teeth. The sugars feed bacteria, which produces acid that wears away at tooth enamel and can lead to a variety of other problems. Sometimes, we hear from patients who think that using a reusable straw to drink sugary beverages keeps them from experiencing the effects. However, we think this is exaggerated. If you are able to taste your beverage, then your teeth and tongue have been exposed to it. The only way you could bypass this is if you position the straw behind your teeth and tongue and sip the drink right down your throat – which defeats the whole purpose! If you just can’t survive without that soda, be sure to enjoy them in moderation and drink a glass of water afterward to help wash your teeth.
Avoiding Reusable Straws
There is a situation in which using a reusable straw to drink can be outright dangerous: when you’re recovering from oral surgery. After surgery, delicate blood clots form over the extraction sites to protect healing bone and nerve underneath. These clots can easily be dislodged through the suction from a straw and result in a painful condition called dry sockets. So, avoid those straws after surgery!
We hope this information shines some light on straw usage. To ask our team at Edgewater Dental Arts any additional questions or to schedule your next visit, contact us today!