The Oral Health Benefits of Drinking Out of a Straw

In recent years, there’s been an environmental fight against the use of non-reusable plastic straws. These one-time use straws make up about 7% of plastic product waste in the U.S., so there is a need to talk about how much we actually need straws. Now, while your dentist in Boerne is in support of making small changes to help the environment, we also know that there are some great oral health benefits of drinking out of a straw. 

Use Reusable

Before we go any further, we want to encourage our patients and neighbors to find a friendly alternative to plastic straws. There are many reusable straws available nowadays and there are even some fit for travel. Find a few that you like and use them to save the planet and reap the oral health benefits. It’s a win-win!    

Straws & Teeth

Ok, now back to the teeth stuff. We know that you must be thinking, “How can a thin tube benefit my oral health?” Well, it comes down to how much liquid touches teeth using a straw versus sipping directly out of a cup. Drinking beverages through a straw can limit the amount of liquid that comes in contact with your teeth, and therefore, how much risk there is for damage. Choosing to go without a straw basically bathes your pearly whites in whatever it is you’re drinking. This means that your drink of choice is left lingering on your teeth’s surfaces long after your cup is empty, increasing the likelihood of developing some unwanted oral health side effects.

  • Stained Teeth

Many beverages contain coloring additives or are naturally colored. These drinks of choice can easily stain teeth and cause discoloration. To help avoid this, drink any colorful beverage with a straw. If your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like, whether because of dark drinks or not, talk to your dentist in Boerne about smile whitening options.  

  • Eroded Enamel

One of the worst things for teeth is acid. Acid can easily erode enamel and leave teeth exposed to the danger of additional acid and bacteria. This can result in increased tooth sensitivity and other concerns.  

  • Cavities 

Cavities can also result from a lack of enamel as well as from having too much sugary or acidic liquids come in contact with teeth. 

The Worst Drinks for Teeth

Not all drinks are bad for teeth, but there are some top contenders. These drinks should be enjoyed moderately and with a straw if at all possible. 

  • Soda
  • Sports Drinks
  • Fruit Punch
  • Juices
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine & Other Alcohol

It’s our responsibility to advise our patients and neighbors on everything they can do to help keep their smiles healthy. Drinking out of a straw is a simple change you can make to protect your teeth against decay, sensitivity, cavities, and other problems. Of course, it’s always important to brush and floss every day and see your dentist in Boerne every six months

How Long Does a Filling Last on a Tooth?

Your dentist in Boerne uses dental fillings to repair an area of tooth decay and keep any damage from progressing. This type of restoration is incredibly common, so common that over 90% of American adults have had a cavity, and we’re willing to bet that most of them were repaired with a filling. However, even though dental fillings are super-strong and durable, the truth is they simply don’t last forever. So just how long can you expect a filling to last? 

Well… It Depends

How long you can expect your filling to last depends on a few factors, such as what it’s made out of and how well you care for your teeth. For example, those who brush and floss regularly and see their dentist in Boerne twice a year will most likely have a longer run with fillings (and other types of restorations) than those who don’t. But, when it comes to the material used for a filling, it can get a bit more complicated.   

Silver Fillings

Silver, or amalgam, fillings were more commonly used a few years ago than they are now, but they may still have their place. These types of fillings are one of the most durable available and are expected to last around 10-15 years. But not everyone likes the way they look. Silver fillings are more visible than their composite counterparts and can create a discolored, darkened smile. 

There has also been an increase in concern regarding the level of mercury in the material used. If this is something that worries you, we encourage you to talk with a dentist in Boerne

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings, also known as tooth-colored or white fillings, are by far the most popular type of filling today. This is probably because they’re designed to match the color of neighboring teeth and blend into your smile. Many times, nobody even knows a filling is there! But like everything else, there is a small downside. Composite fillings, while still strong and durable, are estimated to last 7-10 years compared to silver fillings’ 10-15 years. 

How Do You Know When Your Filling Needs To Be Replaced? 

Since we now know that fillings don’t last forever, how will you know when one needs to be replaced? Many times, patients will experience increased pain or sensitivity in the area of a filling. Most fillings are worn down naturally by everyday habits such as chewing and speaking. But it’s also important that your dentist uses the right type of filling for your specific needs. Talk to your dentist in Boerne about your options so you can make the best choice for yourself.