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It’s Pumpkin Spice Season! How Hot Drinks Affect Your Teeth

October 13, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — dereksongdmd @ 7:11 pm
Closeup of seasonal hot drinks next to other fall foods

As the year winds down and the weather gets colder, many of us will be staying warm with our favorite seasonal hot drinks. Now is the perfect time to cozy up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate, warm apple cider, or a pumpkin spice latte. However, have you ever wondered to yourself “Are hot drinks bad for my teeth?” Read on to find out how these delicious fall beverages are affecting your teeth and what you can do to keep your smile healthy and sparkling all throughout pumpkin spice season.

Increased Risk of Tooth Decay

You probably already know that most fall-flavored beverages are brimming with sugars and sweeteners. However, if you sip on your hazelnut coffee all morning or drink hot coco all night long, you’re at an even higher risk of tooth decay. Drinking sugary beverages continuously over a long period of time provides a constant stream of fuel for the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.

Staining & Discoloration

Coffee and tea are two classic beverages that help many of us fight off the early morning chill this time of year. However, these drinks contain special molecules called tannins. These highly pigmented particles can seep into the porous texture of your enamel and cause discoloration. Tannin stains are notorious for being resistant to toothbrushing and can leave your smile noticeably less bright.

Enamel Erosion

Sweets and stains aren’t the only problems that festive beverages can cause you this season. Apple cider, holiday teas, and seasonal coffees can all cause your teeth serious damage even if they don’t contain any added sugars. These drinks are all highly acidic, which means they can burn through your enamel very quickly. Not only does this leave your pearly whites vulnerable to tooth decay and discoloration, but it also increases your risk of broken, sensitive teeth.

Tips for Protecting Your Smile This Season

Thankfully, you can continue to enjoy all your favorite seasonal beverages while keeping your smile healthy with a few simple precautions, such as:

  • Use a straw: Drinking hot beverages through a straw may seem unusual at first, but this method protects your teeth from direct contact with acidic, sugary, and cavity-causing particles.
  • Drink lots of water: Drinking plain water with or after your hot seasonal drink washes away lingering residue to keep your smile sparkling and healthy.  
  • Use fluoridated dental products: Fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes with the ADA Seal of Approval can help strengthen your enamel and make your teeth more resistant to decay.
  • Schedule your biannual dental checkup: Now’s the perfect time to schedule your second dental checkup of the year. Your dentist can provide the preventive care you need that will keep your smile healthy all year long.

While pumpkin spice lattes may not be the healthiest choice for your teeth, you don’t have to give them up completely! Keep these simple yet effective tips in mind while enjoying all your favorite fall beverages to keep your smile healthy and strong.

About the Author

Dr. Derek Song is proud to offer high quality dental care to smiles of all ages in Burlington, MA and the surrounding communities. He firmly believes in patient-centered dentistry that provides effective and personalized treatments. With the latest dental technology and countless hours of advanced training, he can help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health all year long. To learn more, he can be reached via  his website or at (781) 272-5890.

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