Keeping your pearly whites shining bright is a tricky business. If you enjoy drinking morning coffee and tea, downing soda, slurping juice, or sipping wine, your beverage choices might damage your teeth. Not only do these beverages feed cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth, but they also contain high amounts of acid, sugar, or tannins (staining molecules), which yellow your teeth over time. People often recommend straws to help prevent tooth decay and staining while enjoying your favorite drinks, but straws alone will not protect your oral health.
The Benefit and Trouble With Straws
When you drink, your beverage washes over your teeth, coating them in sugar particles or tannins. Over time, constant exposure can cause tooth decay or stains to develop. Straws reduce tooth exposure to sugary and staining beverages by sending the liquid toward the back of your mouth. Although straws do reduce the risk of oral health problems, they will not completely eliminate the problem.
People often choose drinks based on how much they enjoy the flavor. Even if you drink through a straw, you can taste your beverage and enjoy it. Unfortunately, the drink has to touch your back teeth before it reaches your tongue. Straws can protect some of your teeth from exposure, but not all of them. Fortunately, you can develop other habits to further reduce the risk of tooth decay and staining.
Rinsing Your Mouth
After you consume sugary and acidic foods and drinks, the sugar hangs around in your mouth for several hours. Bacteria on the surface of your teeth eat the sugar and create more acid, which eats into your teeth. You can remove some of the tooth-damaging particles from your mouth by rinsing your mouth with water after consuming sugary, acidic, or staining drinks.
Brushing Your Teeth
You could also brush your teeth to remove sugar and acid. Wait for about 30 minutes after consuming the drink, then brush away. Timing is everything with this strategy. Foods and drinks soften your enamel for a short period after you consume them. Brushing soft enamel can cause damage. Waiting too long also presents a problem, because you don’t want to leave your teeth exposed to the sugar and acid.
Munching on tooth-scrubbing vegetables such as celery and carrots can also reduce your risk of tooth damage. These veggies will remove some of the damaging particles from your teeth. You might still want to brush after 30 minutes, but these healthy snacks can reduce the sugars and acid damaging your teeth while you wait.
Repairing Your Smile
Preventative dental care protects you from tooth decay and other oral health problems by detecting problems as they develop. Whether you drink with the aid of a straw or avoid straws all together, two professional dental exams per year can help keep you healthy.
For repairing the damage done by your favorite drinks, Orlando cosmetic dentist, Dr. Michael L. Weinstock provides quality cosmetic dentistry to restore your smile to its former glory. We offer teeth whitening services to remove staining, and porcelain veneers to cover deeper stains and give you a gleaming smile. Teeth damaged by decay can be repaired with tooth colored fillings and porcelain dental crowns that look natural so that your smile looks radiant.
If you would like to learn more about repairing the damage caused by your favorite drinks, please call (407) 834-6446 to set up an appointment with Dr. Weinstock today.