It’s Fall, and that means cozy sweaters, stylish boots, and of course, your favorite hot drinks to warm your body and soul. While these delicious beverages might keep you warm during the football game or by the fire, they’re wreaking havoc on your teeth. How so? Read on to find out just how harmful these tasty brews can be and what you can do to maintain good oral health this Fall season.
What Can Hot Drinks Do to Your Teeth?
Even if you don’t adhere to the famous Pumpkin Spice trend, there are plenty of other warm, Fall-flavored beverages you can enjoy. From traditional coffee to hot chocolate loaded down with plenty of tiny marshmallows, it’s likely you have your favorite and have already stocked your cabinets for the season. But have you ever asked yourself, “are hot drinks bad for my teeth?” Probably not.
Before you take your next sip of that deliciously yummy spiced chai latte, you may want to consider the following ways your teeth are being negatively affected:
- Staining – Any time you consume dark-colored beverages, it can stain your teeth. In fact, this is one of the main reasons people turn to teeth whitening or porcelain veneers because brushing and flossing are no longer enough to lift the stains.
- Tooth Decay – Many of these Fall drinks have loads of sugar in them, which means the longer it sits on your teeth, the greater the chances of harmful bacteria latching on and burrowing into the crevices of your teeth. This can result in tooth decay and cavities.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health
While the best course of action is to simply avoid these types of beverages, it can be hard. We know these are tempting, especially when they only come around once a year. Fortunately, there are ways you can maintain good oral health even if you decide to sneak a sip every now and then:
- Keep your regular dental appointments. It’s important that you see your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
- Make sure to use a fluoride toothbrush to brush your teeth twice a day for two full minutes. The fluoride protects your teeth from tooth decay and strengthens the enamel, making it harder for stains to penetrate.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
- Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to flush away any leftover harmful bacteria or food particles.
- Use a straw when drinking coffee or dark-colored beverages. This lowers the chances of the liquid coming into contact with your teeth, effectively minimizing stains.
- Drink plenty of water and try to rinse your mouth after consuming food or beverages with sugar or acid in them. If possible, try to brush your teeth immediately afterward.
Just because it’s Fall, and the holidays are quickly approaching, doesn’t mean you have to give in to every sugary temptation available. Treat yourself every now and then but be mindful of how your choices are affecting your teeth and gums. Don’t let once tasty drink lead to money spend on necessary dental work.
About the Author
Dr. Megan Shelton, DMD, completed her undergraduate degree at Wichita State University before earning her Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Not only is she committed to growing and improving within the field of dentistry, but she is also committed to continuing education, completing hours each year. She and her team provide the highest caliber of dental care possible, and you can expect a fun and supportive dental team to help you achieve desired results. To learn more about Dr. Shelton or for questions about our services, visit our website or call (760) 434-9800.