While walking to your car this morning, you noticed a brisk gust of wind that gave you goosebumps. Autumn is fast-approaching, which means visits to the pumpkin patch, apple cider donuts, and daily hot drinks like pumpkin spice lattes to make you feel a bit warmer. Even though coffees and hot chocolates are the get you in the mood for the holidays, they could be causing a problem for your teeth. Keep reading to learn how drinking cozy, warm drinks in the fall can impact your oral health down the road.
Drinks like coffee and black tea are commonly known to cause surface stains to develop on your teeth. In fact, tannins, which are commonly present in teas, are a compound that provides the deep vibrant colors to different tree barks, wines, and rhubarb. They attach themselves to your tooth enamel by binding to oral bacteria, leaving a yellow-ish blanket over your pearly whites. Even if you’re a diligent brusher and flosser, these techniques can’t always get rid of the surface discoloration they cause.
If you’re craving a hot beverage but want to keep your pearly whites looking great, try drinking white, green, or herbal teas. They don’t have as strong of an effect on your teeth. For coffee, adding milk to it can reduce the concentration of the color and also provide an oral health benefit by strengthening your enamel.
In terms of your oral health, coffee really doesn’t have much of a negative impact. In fact, a study published by the KLA Society’s Institute of Dental Sciences in Bangalore found that drinking roasted coffee without any added sugar can actually prevent cavities from developing.
When sugar has been added to your beverage though, it can cling to the surface of your teeth and result in the buildup of harmful oral bacteria. These release enamel-eroding acids that leave your pearly whites vulnerable to cavities, decay, and infection.
If you love feeling warm in fall by sipping on a hot beverage, here are some tips that can reduce your risk of damaging your teeth. Whenever it’s possible, try using a straw to prevent discoloration and staining. If you love adding sugar or flavorings to your coffee, be sure to remember to drink plain water throughout the day. This can help rinse away substances that may be lingering on your teeth. Remember to also keep up with your oral hygiene routine by brushing and flossing daily, removing surface stains that may be clinging to your teeth.
Now that your question “Are hot drinks bad for my teeth?” is answered, you can continue enjoying your fall tradition with peace-of-mind. If you have any issues with tooth sensitivity or discomfort, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. You’ll be thankful you did when you still get to enjoy a happy and healthy smile years from now.
About the Author
Dr. Benjamin Naylor enjoys being able to provide his patients with the tools and knowledge they need to maintain beautiful and healthy smiles. At Mountain Stream Dental, he offers preventive treatments that tackle small problems before they have a chance to progress. This allows him to save his patients time, hassle, and money down the road. For questions or to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning, visit Mountain Stream Dental’s website or call 541-345-5363.