A lot of people drink sugary drinks through straws because they believe that this will help them avoid cavities. Is this actually the case? Researchers have studied this very topic and came to the conclusion that drinking through a straw can slightly reduce the number of cavities of a person gets depending on where the straw is placed and the person’s drinking patterns.
The researchers followed people over a several year period. They found that people who positioned the straw right behind the front teeth, tended to develop more cavities in that area. They found that people who positioned the straw near the back of their mouth tended to get cavities on the back teeth. The best place to position the straw was so that the drink went directly onto the back of the tongue and down the throat. People who didn’t use a straw at all tended to develop more cavities especially on their back molars.
Now it is important to remember that even though a straw can reduce cavities, if you are drinking sugary or acidic drinks on a regular basis, you will still continue to develop cavities. Ideally you’d like to not get any cavities at all. This is not possible with a high level of consumption of sugary drinks.
Some other tips that can help reduce cavities when drinking sugary and/or acidic drinks…
- Rinse your mouth out with water after drinking them but don’t brush. Brushing soon after having an acidic drink can cause more damage to the tooth enamel.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Use a fluoride containing mouthrinse.
- Drink it all in one sitting as opposed to sipping on it throughout the day. Remember that for your teeth, its more important how often they are exposed to sugar rather than how much sugar total you are consuming. I find that having your drink in a can forces you to do this unlike a drink in a bottle that you can put a cap on.
- Don’t hold the drink in your mouth. Swallow it immediately. Some people like to let it sit either around their front teeth or back teeth and this is also linked to higher levels of teeth decay in those areas.
- Don’t drink sugary drinks before bed.