The Last Straw: Did It Really Help Your Teeth?

The Problem With One-Use Plastic Straws

Did you know that 500 million plastic straws are used daily in the US? It may or may not count the unknown number that are washed up into our oceans and do much damage to the marine environment. And to think that these one-use plastic items are not degradable, at least in the next 300 years. Also, these products fill up our landfills, consuming space and wasting resources for disposal. While disposable plastics feed our growing desire for convenience, millions and millions of homes, restaurants, hotels and others the world over are contributing to a major environmental hazard that is already upon us.

Plastic Straw Ban

Many cities have already banned the use of plastic straws at public establishments, yet there are quarters of dissent. For example, many people use straws to drink their sugary beverages, including coffee and tea and wine, to prevent staining their teeth. What do dentists say about that? Dentists once believed that drinking from straws reduces the contact between liquids that stain and the teeth, which prevents teeth going yellow. However, things have changed a bit.

Some dentists point out that sipping with straws can avoid direct contact between the drink and the teeth, other activities or habits can discolor teeth as well. Eating curry, tomato sauce, soy sauce can stain teeth, as well as smoking and chewing tobacco, and treatments like chemotherapy. So drinking with a straw certainly isn’t going to prevent discoloration itself and can’t be said to protect teeth entirely.

Aftercare is more important than resorting to straws. Rinsing your mouth with water immediately after drinking something that stains is much more helpful and must be habitual. Tooth brushing, mouthwash rinses and chewing on sugarless gum remove stains better.

Plastic disposable straws are much more beneficial to people who have disabilities. If you need to drink with a straw, for convenience, then use an eco-friendly straw or your own personal straw that’s reusable. Or better scrap it all together, and know you are saving our oceans doing that.

Helping The Environment Bellingham Way

So if you think using plastic straws can help your teeth from staining, get into the healthier, eco-friendly habit of mouth-rinsing and tooth brushing instead. It’s so much more chic, says your Bellingham dentist.