Whether or not to use a plastic straw when drinking beverages is the latest “hot button” topic in the dental industry. Some dental professionals believe drinking through a straw can improve people’s oral health while others believe that it can actually harm people’s oral health. Given this contradictory information, it can be difficult for you to know what to do –use a straw or don’t use a straw.
Artistic Touch Dentistry wants people to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to use a straw. We will highlight both the pros and cons of using plastic straws.
Pro: Prevents Staining of the Teeth
Brightly colored or dark colored beverages can turn your bright white teeth to develop noticeable stains. The best way to avoid staining your teeth is to completely avoid drinking these types of beverages, but that isn’t always easy which is why many dental professionals recommend using a straw.
When you drink brightly colored or dark colored beverages through a straw you minimize the amount of contact they have with your teeth. The less direct contact these beverages have with your teeth, the less likely you are to develop noticeable stains.
Con: Straws can Damage Your Teeth
Physically drinking out of a straw won’t damage your teeth. However, many people who drink out of a straw tend to have a habit of chewing on the straw. This habit is what can cause damage to your teeth.
Chewing on the straw can cause your teeth to chip. It can also weaken the protective enamel on your teeth. Once the enamel is weakened you can experience increased pain and sensitivity and may even develop cavities.
Pro: Helps Reduce Tooth Decay and Sensitivity Caused by Prolonged Exposure to Acid or Sugary Drinks
When you drink out of a glass it is like sending a massive wave of the beverage into your mouth. That wave covers the back, front and sides of your teeth as well your cheeks, gums, and tongue. If you are drinking water or milk this isn’t such a problem, but if you are drinking acid or sugary drinks it can increase your chances of experiencing tooth decay.
In an effort to reduce your mouth’s exposure to sugary or acid beverages some dentists recommend using a straw. Sipping the beverage out of a straw won’t completely prevent any damage caused by acid or sugary drinks, but it will lessen it. The damage is lessened because the beverage is bypassing the fronts of your teeth and goes straight into your mouth.
Cons: Plastic Straws Give People a False Sense of Security Thinking They are Immune to Tooth Decay
Some people who use straws believe that because their chance of tooth decay is significantly decreased, they can still consume as much of the sugary or acid beverage as they want. This isn’t completely true.
Just because your chance of tooth decay is decreased doesn’t mean you can drink large amounts of sugary or acid beverages. You will still want to limit the amount you consume as you can still develop cavities and tooth decay.
Many dentists fear that because people know their chance of developing tooth decay is significantly decreased when using a straw, people will either drink more of an acid or sugary beverage or they will feel they don’t have to brush their teeth after drinking these types of beverages. If this happens people can develop numerous dental problems ranging from increased tooth sensitivity to cavities or gum disease.
Should You or Should You Not Use a Straw when Drinking?
The decision whether or not to use a straw is a personal one. Some people feel it is beneficial and helps improve their oral health, while others don’t notice a difference. The decision is really up to you and what you feel comfortable doing.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to use a straw, you will still want to schedule regular visits to the dentist for annual examinations and cleanings. Call Artistic Touch Dentistry who specializes in Cosmetic Dentistry in Melbourne Florida to schedule an appointment if it is time for a routine examination and professional cleaning. We look forward to welcoming you to our office!