Will banning plastic straws affect the nation’s oral health?

According to recent government guidelines, plastic straws may be banned in the UK from as soon as 2019.

This step has been taken to help preserve marine environments, but will it also have a negative impact on our patients’ oral health?

Straws have been found to help prevent tooth decay as they lessen the contact sugary drinks have with teeth during drinking. This has led to dental professionals recommending straws to their child patients, especially considering the higher levels of childhood tooth decay seen in recent years.

So now that plastic straws might not be available in the future, what can we do to stop the ban affecting children’s oral health?

The BSDHT believes we need to explore alternatives that provide the benefits of plastic straws without impacting the environment so heavily.

Straws for life, compostable straws made from plant proteins and paper straws with wax coatings are all viable options, and by recommending these to patients we can help stop the rising tide of childhood tooth decay and help save the planet at the same time.

Don’t forget to take this into account the next time you treat child patients and do your bit to help save the environment.


Editors Notes




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The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.

BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.

Visit www.bsdht.org.uk for more information.

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