Will using a straw save your teeth from stains and cavities?

We asked an expert for tips on maintaining a white smile, while still indulging in the occasional sugary drink

Will using a straw save your teeth from stains and cavities?

Source: Best Health magazine, November/December 2013; Image: Thinkstock

Drinking red wine through a straw to keep your teeth white has become a mini trend’there’s at least one company making ‘wine straws’ out of thick clear plastic. (What next?!) But can drinking pop or sugary drinks through a straw actually protect your teeth from cavities and stains? ‘It will minimize contact with your teeth,’ says Dr. Euan Swan, manager of dental programs at the Canadian Dental Association. But there is still going to be some exposure to your back molars. ‘Pop and juice can also be acidic and cause erosion of the tooth,’ says Swan.

Whether or not you use a straw, if you brush your teeth immediately after having acidic foods or drinks you could be damaging the tooth surface. Swan suggests you wait 30 minutes before brushing. Meantime, ‘chewing sugar-free gum will stimulate saliva, which helps balance and neutralize the acid in your mouth.’

This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!