You may have heard news reports recently that drinking from disposable plastic straws available at most restaurants is bad for the planet. That’s because these seemingly insignificant pieces of plastic add up – to the tune of 500 million straws every single day. Worse yet, they’re not biodegradable or recyclable, so those 500 million daily straws sit in landfills. To give you an idea of how much plastic that is, the National Park Service says it could add up to about 46,000 school buses full of plastic straws annually. But it gets worse, because in addition to being bad for the planet, straws can be bad for your oral health too. Here’s why.
Admit it: You’ve chewed a straw or two in your lifetime. It’s kind of an absentminded thing many of us do, and while it may seem harmless, it’s really bad for your teeth. Teeth aren’t meant to chew plastic – they are meant to chew food. Once or twice may not harm your teeth, but if you are a habitual straw chewer, you could be causing wear on your teeth you wouldn’t otherwise incur. And those environmentally friendlier non-disposable plastic straws are even worse, because they’re harder plastic!
They Can Cause Cavities
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, straws can increase your rate of cavities because of how and where most people keep their straw in their mouths. Holding a straw in the same place in your mouth day after day can concentrate the sugar in your drink to one area, increasing the likelihood of developing cavities in that area.
Straws Cause Wrinkles Around Your Mouth
Yup, that repetitive pursing of the lips can cause wrinkles, just like the fine lines around a smoker’s mouth, and nobody wants that!
Straws Cause Stains and Make Teeth Look Dirty
Going back to the point about straws causing cavities, they cause stains for the same reason: the placement of the straw in your mouth. Because we generally hold the straw in the front or middle of the mouth, the fluid concentrates in specific areas. To avoid this, scientists say you must hold the straw in the back of your mouth, behind your teeth. What? That sounds incredibly uncomfortable, doesn’t it?
Your Best Bet
Skip the straw entirely, and just drink straight from the cup. It will be better for the planet and better for your oral health, too.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lesko, please call 970-221-5115.