The debate over the use of straws to prevent cavities has been a long battle. -But the recent announcement by the giant coffee chain, Starbucks, has sparked many concerns and discussions all over social media: they will be phasing out plastic straws by 2020.
Many people believe that drinking an acidic, sugary, or even colored drink (such as coffee) with a straw can help to prevent cavities and teeth from staining. The reality is that if you can taste the drinks when using a straw, chances are the beverage is in contact with your teeth. You can’t prevent cavities using a straw. However, you might be able to minimize the damage from the drink by positioning the straw towards the back of your mouth and sipping the drink straight down the throat. Unfortunately, it’s probably not the most comfortable thing to do.
There is very little to no evidence that straws can help prevent cavities. In fact, some studies found that straws may increase the risk of decay and cavities for those who frequently direct the liquid to a particular area in their mouth.
Not only that, straws might do more harm than good- it might affect how you feel and how you look. How’s that? If you ever noticed you feel more bloated or gassy after drinking beverages with a straw, chances are the straw is the culprit. When you drink with a straw, you’re drawing in more air with the liquid with every sip, causing bloating, burping, gas and abdominal pain.
Dr. Jennifer Inra, a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, actually advised her patients to avoid using a straw too.
If that’s not enough to convince you, how about the possibility of forming extra wrinkles around your lips? According to a New York-based cosmetic dentist, Dr. Lana Rozenberg, the repetitive motion from puckering your lips when drinking with a straw can increase the formation of wrinkles around the mouth over time, which is also a cause of smoking.
Before you start a campaign to ban/phase out straws from the universe, think about this: there are people among us who need to drink with a straw in their daily lives for health and medical reasons. -But for the rest of us, using plastic straws really doesn’t serve any great purpose. If we can just cut down the use of plastic straws, we can make a difference in the environment.