Treating Yourself to a Soda? Use a Straw

When you're drinking a sugary soda or acidic soft drink, be sure to grab a straw to help reduce your risk for cavities.

A recent report in General Dentistry, the clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, notes that drinking potentially tooth-damaging beverages with a properly positioned straw can help minimize your risk.

Researchers recommend sipping through a straw positioned toward the back of the mouth to limit the beverage’s contact with teeth.

Even then, researchers add, soda sippers should rinse with water after drinking and brush with fluoride toothpaste to protect back molars.

Frequent exposure to acids in colas, diet colas, non-cola soft drinks and commercial iced teas can erode dental enamel and lead to cavities. But enjoying an occasional soft drink and using a straw can reduce risk and, better yet, substituting water for soft drinks one or more times a day can also help keep your smile healthy.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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As teens continue to grow, they’re faced with certain dental issues, such as getting braces or having their wisdom teeth removed. Many of these procedures are a normal part of life, while others are proactive steps dentists take to help ensure a lifetime of oral health.

Here are some good topics to discuss with your teen:

  • Bad breath causes – bad breath, or halitosis, usually comes from bacteria that form on the tongue. In many cases, a simple change in your teen’s personal oral hygiene habits can freshen him up, starting with good oral hygiene, brush the tongue and keep regular visits to your dentist.

  • Whitening options – whitening those pearly whites can be done with whitening toothpastes, mouth rinses and toothbrushes. The dentist also offers whitening treatment options that are done in the dental office and at home.

  • Tobacco use – tobacco products contain toxins that can cause various types of cancer, gum disease, bad breath, tooth discoloration and a diminished sense of smell. It’s easier to kick a smoking habit earlier rather than later.

  • Oral piercings – oral piercings can have adverse affects on the health of your tongue, lips, cheeks and uvula. Oral problems associated with swallowed/aspirated jewelry, speech impairment, fractured teeth and gingival recession can occur.