Can a Straw Save Your Teeth?

Reusable Straw

Almost weekly we hear of a new scientific study touting the benefits of a well-known “superfood.” Blueberries? They’re the bomb! Turmeric? It’s terrific! Coffee and tea? Some say they have benefits more powerful than the caffeine that perks you up in the morning and near the end of a long day. But many of these foods — the berries, the spices, the citrus and herbaceous wonders — are the same things that stain your teeth and make your Sacramento dental hygienist wonder what in the world you have been eating, drinking, sipping, slurping and chewing on.

What’s the solution, besides just not eating these colorful and healthy tooth stain inducers? One solution is to brush soon after eating them, or at least swish with water after meals. But that may not be convenient and you may want the taste of these foods to actually last a while. Brushing or sipping after every bite is just not practical every time you enjoy foods that might cause tooth stains.

The Straw Solution to Tooth Stains

Enter the drinking straw! While this is not a solution for chewed foods, it works very well for drinks, especially fruit smoothies and cold teas or coffees. Using a straw effectively bypasses your front teeth, the ones most likely to be stained and then seen, yet still lets your tongue taste what you’re drinking. When your teeth aren’t getting as much “bath time” in all those stain-producing compounds, it’s a win-win for your teeth and for your health.

But aren’t straws bad for the environment? Yes, they are. Disposable straw use in the U.S. is in the hundreds of millions, per day. But there’s a new straw in town! It’s a one-shot purchase, washable, reusable, doesn’t add more plastic into your body, and won’t end up in the landfills or the oceans.

Stainless steel straws are available in grocery stores, kitchen stores, online and even in the super cheap aisle of your local discount retailer. They come in straight and slanted and with different diameters. Some have special brushes for cleaning, but a pipe cleaner will usually do the job too. You can buy a few to keep them in rotation, so you’ll always have a clean, environmentally conscience drinking implement when you need it.

So, the next time you waltz into work with your “Blueberry Turmeric Kale Green Tea Smoothie” in a glass jar with your stainless steel reusable straw, be sure to flash a big smile to your co-workers. Your teeth, your health, your wallet, the planet, and even your dental hygienist will be so proud of you!

Be sure to make any needed dental cleaning visits before summer vacation season hits. And if that and the straw is still not enough to keep your teeth as sparkling as you’d like, talk to us about brightening up your smile with professional tooth whitening. Call us, stop by our office or make an on-line appointment. Our Sacramento dentists and hygienists hope to see you soon!

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