Ask a Dentist

Straws: Tooth Damage and Staining Prevention

Q: Does drinking beverages that are bad for my teeth like coffee and soda through a straw actually prevent damage and staining?

Does using a straw prevent you from staining your teeth? - Ask a Dentist Winnipeg

A: This is a common misconception. Even when you use a straw, it’s very hard to prevent whatever you’re drinking from touching your teeth! Give it a try next time you use a straw.

The only way the straw method works is when you place the tip of the straw at the back of your mouth behind your teeth and tongue so the liquid goes directly into your throat, which isn’t very fun. Sometimes the only reason we consume these beverages is for the taste and you completely miss out on that aspect of the drink when you do this.

Basically, if you’ve tasted the drink at all, your teeth have been exposed. Your tongue is in constant contact with your teeth, so if any soda or coffee touches your tongue, it will also get on your teeth.

There are other concerns to consider when it comes to using straws. Drinking through a straw can cause gas, and plastic straws aren’t great for the environment either.

The best thing you can do is reduce your coffee/tea/soda consumption or try switching to something that doesn’t impact your teeth as much. You can also try chasing one of these drinks with a neutral beverage like milk or water. If the damage is already done, our dentists recommend Zoom! Whitening dentistry to undo some of the staining and brighten your smile again. Click the schedule an appointment option on your main website navigation to get in touch.