Using a straw when drinking pop can help reduce cavities and acid damage, but there’s a catch: the straw has to be positioned in the right spot.
This is because pop contains acid that can erode tooth enamel, which protects the tooth against cavities and maintains the shape of the tooth. Strategically placed straws decrease the amount of pop that comes into contact with your teeth, and by extension the amount of acid damage that is done to the tooth enamel.
The author of the study, Dr. Mohamed Bassiouny of Temple University, looked at two teenagers, an 18-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl. Both teenagers drank copious amounts of pop every day, but they had very different straw techniques. The 16-year-old placed the straw in front of her teeth and had extensive acid erosion in her front teeth, while the 18-year-old placed the straw on the right side of his mouth and had extensive acid erosion on that side.
Here are some tips for decreasing the risk of tooth decay caused by drinking pop:
- Place the straw behind your teeth, towards the back of your mouth
- Avoid drinking pop just before going to bed
- Rinse your mouth out with water after drinking pop
- Don’t leave pop in your mouth when sipping.
- Most importantly: drink less pop
June 17, 2005. “Saved By A Straw: Sipping Soft Drinks And Other Beverages Reduces Risk Of Decay.” sciencedaily.com
June 17, 2005. “Sipping Soda Through a Straw May Cut Cavities.” webmd.com
June 28, 2005. “Straws May Save Soda Lovers’ Teeth.” medicineonline.com