It’s the season of pumpkin spice lattes and mulled ciders and while our taste buds may love it, our teeth certainly don’t.
It’s that time of year where a nice piping-hot salted maple and caramel Latte is the perfect pick-me-up on the walk to work, but it’s easy to forget the havoc they can wreak on your teeth.
We spoke to cosmetic dentist Sundeep Patel, the Clinical Lead for Waldron Dental, about the damage these sugary drinks are doing to our teeth and what we can do to prevent it.
Our favourite Starbucks or Costa drinks are a big culprit when it comes to excess sugar, plus there is a range of guilty pleasure toppings such as whipped cream and crunchy pieces.
Patel said: ‘Syrups that you commonly find in your autumnal drinks, such as pumpkin spice or toffee nut are not considered good for your teeth or oral health.
‘The sugar content could be harmful to your teeth, they may degrade your enamel, which puts you at a higher risk of developing cavities.
‘And so the more of these types of beverages you drink, the higher your chance of developing teeth issues down the line is.’
When it comes to our favourite toppings, he adds: ‘Crunchy toppings that are often added to specialty hot drinks could pose a risk to your dental health.
‘Often these toppings which are hard, crunchy and surgery could lead to increased risk of cavities to your teeth, and not just this but biting on these hard tiny toppings could actually cause your teeth to crack or chip.
‘While you may think that squirty cream added to a drink would be fine for your teeth, actually you are putting your teeth at a greater risk of staining.
‘This is because while adding cream to coffee can in some ways decrease your chances of staining due to making the liquid less dark, the ingredients in the cream can actually cause your teeth to turn yellow for a longer period.’
Our favourite seasonal cuppas can also lead to bad breath.
Sundeep explains that caffeine can dehydrate your body, which leads to less saliva being produced.
This means that we don’t have enough saliva to digest food particles that are stuck between our teeth or lingering in our mouth, which can lead to bad breath.
A dry mouth also allows the excess sugar from the drink to eat away at your teeth more easily.
Too much sugar can also give you the jitters, which can damage your teeth if the spike in adrenaline causes you to grind your teeth or move your mouth more.
So how can you protect your smile if you’re are going to indulge in your favourite autumn beverage?
Sundeep says there are multiple things you can do including the usual brushing for two minutes and flossing twice a day, as well as using mouthwash regularly.
But it also helps to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially right after finishing a dark coloured beverage.
Eating a vitamin rich diet will also help reduce damage, as well as being mindful of your sugar intake.
Oh, and make sure to visit your dentist regularly for a check up and your hygienist for a good clean.
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