You’ve heard a lot about straws recently. In July, Starbucks announced it would phase out plastic straws from its stores, and McDonalds is testing out alternatives to plastic straws in its restaurants. A handful of cities, including Seattle and Miami Beach, have passed laws banning straws.
Why the backlash against the plastic straw? Plastic doesn’t disintegrate, and the millions of straws thrown out each year pollute our oceans. Environmental advocates say reducing straw use is a significant way to reduce overall plastic use.
Did you know that sipping through a straw could also impact health?
Dentists say using a straw can increase your risk of cavities and tooth decay. When you sip on a straw, especially when drinking sugary beverages, the liquid is concentrated to one small area of the mouth, potentially eroding the enamel and weakening teeth overall.
Frequent use of straws may also lead to “smoker’s lips,” a term coined for the premature aging of the skin around the mouth that is common among cigarette smokers. When you sip through a straw, you’re puckering your lips similar to the way a smoker drags a cigarette, and this leads to deep lines around the mouth.
Straws can also increase gas and bloating because it introduces air into the digestive tract, which leads to the uncomfortable conditions.
On the other hand, straws do have one big health benefit. For people with disabilities, straws provide great independence in consuming beverages. Because of this, many places that are outlawing the straw are still making it available for people who need the access.
Still, the trend toward consigning plastic straws to the trash heap of history is growing around the world.