Saved By a Straw?
Americans drink more than 575 soft drinks on average every year about one and a half cans a day for everyone in the United States. Drinking these beverages places those who may not follow proper oral hygiene techniques at a higher risk for cavities and other oral health problems.
However, according to a report from the Academy of General Dentistrys journal, drinking soft drinks and other beverages through a properly positioned straw can help to minimize the risk of cavities.
The report tracked patient drinking habits and found that different factors such as the frequency of sipping and the amount of time the beverage remains in the mouth affect the type, location and severity of tooth decay.
For example, decay will be concentrated in the back molars of a person who drinks directly from a can and allows the liquid to pool in the mouth. Or, decay will be found on the front teeth in a person who drinks through a straw positioned at the front of the mouth, right behind the lips.
However, even when drinking through a straw, the teeth located in the back of the mouth are still bathed with sugary and acidic liquids. Try rinsing your mouth with water after drinking, and use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Soft drinks contain one or more acids, commonly phosphoric and citric acids. Non-colas and canned iced teas also contain flavor additives, such as malic, tartaric and other organic acids, which are more aggressive at eroding teeth. These acids erode dental enamel, the thin outer layer of hard tissue that helps maintain the tooth structure and shape, while protecting it from decay.
A dentist can tell when a patient gets cavities from drinking acidic beverages, such as soft drinks, since the decayed areas are often darker in color and take up more space on the tooth. The cavities also often appear near the gum line.
Tips for healthy drinking
Reduce your soda consumption.
Dont leave fluids in your mouth when sipping.
Dont drink soda before going to bed.
Dont brush immediately after drinking soda (it will harm the weakened enamel).
Brush in a circular motion (horizontal brushing can wear away at the weakened enamel).
If you have dry mouth, try to avoid carbonated beverages.
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