September 16, 2019
Fall is just about here. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice lattes! As the weather gets colder, we want to warm up with hot drinks, blankets, and sitting by the fire. However, as delicious as drinks like pumpkin spice lattes and hot chocolate may be, they can actually be harmful for your teeth. There are a number of ways that they can damage your pearly whites. Continue reading below to find out exactly how.
Are Hot Drinks Bad for My Teeth?
One of the main ways in which hot drinks like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate can hurt your teeth is by leaving behind stains. These beverages all contain chemicals that cause discoloration. Stains from coffee can be especially resistant to brushing your teeth. If you want to minimize the effects of staining but still enjoy tea, you have to be careful which kind you select. Avoid black tea, as it is the richest in tannins, or the material that results in discoloration. Green and herbal teas are the least likely to leave behind stains.
The other way that fall drinks can damage your teeth is through their high sugar content. While coffee by itself contains no sugar, most of us don’t drink it that way. Instead we add cream and sugar that is more likely to cause problems like decay and gum disease. Hot chocolate is usually loaded with sugar, and we usually mix unhealthy amounts of it with our coffee and sometimes with tea as well. Because of its stickiness, coffee allows the sugar to attach to our teeth for a long time. This gives bacteria plenty of time to cause cavities.
How Can I Prevent Damage?
There are some ways that you can keep these yummy drinks from wreaking too much havoc on your teeth. Whenever possible, try and use a straw to consume these beverages. This may be more likely for iced coffee than hot coffee, but you should still use a straw as often as you can. It allows the drink to bypass your pearly whites, reducing the risk of staining and decay.
In addition, you’ll want to rinse your mouth out with water after you’ve finished consuming coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Doing so can wash away leftover particles that, when left behind, result in unsightly stains on your teeth. Those certainly won’t look good in holiday card pictures!
While pumpkin spice lattes are delicious, they aren’t the healthiest drink for your teeth. However, by sticking to the prevention tips listed above, you can keep damage to a minimum.
About the Author
Dr. C. J. Landry has owned and operated Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA since 1982. He has over 30 years of experience in the dental field and has completed thousands of hours of advanced continuing education courses to stay up to date on the latest dental techniques. To learn more about how to protect your teeth from being damaged by fall drinks, contact Dr. Landry at (504) 348-0080.
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