Like Sodas and Sweet Drinks? Use a Straw to Save Your Teeth

July 23, 2012

Our faithful readers know by now that certain foods and beverages, especially dark-colored ones, can leave unsightly stains on your teeth despite your best tooth brushing efforts. The good news is, you don’t have to live with stained teeth for the rest of your life. Cosmetic procedures, such as tooth-whitening, can eliminate stains and return your smile back to the healthy glow it deserves. There are also steps you can take to reduce the staining effect of most dark-colored beverages so that you don’t have to give up the refreshments you love most. Lake Orion dentist Dr. Brad Greenfield explores some stain-preventing techniques to help you safely enjoy your favorite “bad” drinks.

The Key is Exposure

Aside from staining your teeth, drinks like soda and fruit juices contain high concentrations of sugars and acid that can damage your teeth. When acid comes into contact with your teeth, it immediately attacks, weakening your enamel and sapping minerals from your tooth to prevent your enamel from regaining its strength. Once the enamel is sufficiently weakened, bacteria can gain access to the interior of your tooth and infect the pulp, where your nerves and blood vessels are located. If left unchecked, this infection can lead to extensive and devastating damage to your teeth and supporting jawbone structure. When oral bacteria, mainly S. mutans, metabolize refined sugars and carbs, it excretes lactic acid over the surface of your teeth, exacerbating tooth enamel destruction. The longer and more frequently your teeth are exposed to harmful sugar and acid, the greater your risk of tooth decay.

Drink Responsibly.  Even Soft Drinks

Luckily, you do not have to boycott your favorite drinks entirely in order to save your teeth. Dr. Greenfield recommends drinking potentially harmful beverages through a straw to limit the amount of beverage that touches your teeth. Ensure that the straw is positioned toward the back of your mouth (positioning the straw at the front of the mouth defeats the purpose). Drink quickly, as opposed to sipping slowly throughout the day, to limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed. Also, rinse your mouth with water after finishing your drink in order to neutralize the acid in your mouth and rinse away excess sugar deposits.

If you would like to learn more about nutrition and your oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenfield, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry in Lake Orion, Michigan, at (248) 693-6213. We welcome patients from Lake Orion, Oxford, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, and the surrounding communities.

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