Dr. Nesochi discusses what happens to your body when you use a straw on Reader’s Digest.

6 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Use a Straw

by Emily DiNuzzo
photos: courtesy of Reader’s Digest


Sipping on a straw isn’t as good for you as you think.

You can have gas and bloat

Using a straw means sipping on more than just a beverage. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, a physician and health expert, says you’re also ingesting excess air which is called aerophagia. “The build-up of excess air in the gastrointestinal tract may translate into more burping to release the ingested air,” Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe says. Similar to using a straw, eating food too fast and drinking super carbonated beverages could contribute to swallowing a lot of air too, she says. Here’s how your body changes when you start drinking enough water, with or without a straw.

You can develop wrinkles

According to board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Sejal Shah, MD, sipping through a straw is one of the everyday habits that cause wrinkles. Using a straw on a regular basis means your muscles are going through the repetitive motion of pursing the lips. Yahoo! Lifestyle reports that repeating this movement breaks down the collagen near your mouth, causing permanent skin creases.


You could be at a higher risk for cavities and tooth decay

Drinking from a straw seems like a good solution for avoiding cavities and tooth decay, but it might not be as fool-proof as you think. “The sugar from sodas or the acid from wine and coffee still touches your teeth even when drinking through a straw,” says Kami Kohani, DDS. “You may be sending the brunt of it to your molars, where cavities are most likely to result.” Here’s another reason why you should never sip from plastic straws again.


You can stain your teeth

Mark Burhenne, DDS, adds that using a straw doesn’t prevent staining either. It all depends on where the straw is near your teeth. According to Dr. Burhenne, the only way straw use could potentially protect the teeth is if the tip of the straw is in the back of the mouth and the liquid goes straight to the throat without touching the teeth. “Of course, at this point, it’s more like taking a shot than enjoying a juice or coffee, and defeats the whole purpose of drinking it,” Dr. Burhenne says.

You could potentially gain weight

According to the Washington Post, straws could cause you to drink more than if you use a glass or cup— and if you’re sipping on high-calorie beverages, you could gain weight. Plus, drinking through a straw neutralizes the smell of a drink which could also lead to overconsumption, according to the Telegraph. That said, using a straw won’t automatically lead to weight gain, but it could make it more challenging to limit your drink calories.

Your body could be subject to chemicals

Plastic straws are typically made from polypropylene, a type of plastic made from petroleum, the Washington Post reports. And although the Food and Drug Administration finds polypropylene food-safe, chemicals from the plastic could leach into water, the Post reports. Research published in the journal Science also shows that the compounds could affect estrogen levels in humans. Next, check out these obscure facts about the human body.

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