Does Drinking from a Straw Really Help with Teeth Staining?

Drinking from a straw is often advised when you don’t want to discolor your teeth from dark-colored drinks, like tea or coffee. The truth is, avoiding teeth staining is not as simple as sipping through a straw. Let our Tampa dentists explain what a straw can and can’t do and the best tips for using a straw when you want to keep your teeth white.

Best Straw Position to Avoid Teeth Staining

When you place the straw right behind your front teeth, the front of the teeth will stay clean and white. The back of the teeth, however, will become stained. If you want to fully protect your teeth, move the straw closer to the back of the mouth.

If you’re not sure whether the straw is in the right position, take a sip and swallow. Did the drink touch your teeth? If so, then the straw isn’t really helping you avoid the beverage because your teeth are getting coated in it with each sip. When you can use the straw without feeling liquid on your teeth, you’ll know that you’ve got the right position.

There is a risk when using straws of one or two teeth getting coated with the beverage because of where you position the straw. If the liquid is always hitting the same area, you could wind up with uneven staining or cavities in impacted teeth.

Even when you use a straw to avoid getting these drinks on your teeth, your tongue will soak up the liquid (and any sugars in the drink). As your tongue comes into contact with your teeth, it will transfer the sugar in sugary drinks to the teeth. To prevent this from happening, it’s a smart idea to drink a glass of water after you have a soda or coffee, and to brush your teeth when you’re finished with the beverage.

What to Do to Keep Teeth White

Drinking a straw will greatly cut down on the amount of discoloration, but if you really want to protect your teeth, you need to do more. When possible, avoid drinks that are dark in color or high in sugar; these liquids are the most likely to discolor your teeth and cause other problems. Keep up with your regular dental hygienist visits twice a year, and keep up with your at-home dental routine (brushing and flossing) each day.

If your teeth are already dark, you may want to schedule a teeth whitening treatment. When your teeth are white, you will naturally think more often about keeping them so bright. When your teeth are already discolored, you may forget to use a straw or to keep up with the daily routines needed to protect teeth.

Have Your Teeth Professionally Whitened

Our teeth whitening procedures can help you brighten your smile, so you look and feel you’re best. To explore our options for teeth whitening in Tampa, or to make an appointment, call us today: 813-501-6864.