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Autumn Beverages and Your Dental Health

Autumn has finally arrived here in the greater Kansas City area, bringing with it cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and, of course, everyone’s favorite array of seasonal beverages. Whether you’re seeking a pumpkin spice latte or a hot apple cider, you’ll find no shortage of cozy seasonal drinks and treats at coffee shops and other places all over the area. For many of us, this is the most exciting part of the arrival of autumn. Who doesn’t love sipping a cozy beverage on a cool autumn evening?

We know how much these seasonal beverages mean to so many people, and your Kansas City family dentist isn’t about to take that pleasure away from you. It’s absolutely fine to enjoy your favorite seasonal beverage in moderation, whether that’s a pumpkin spice latte on a chilly morning or a cup of hot chocolate on a cool autumn night. The trick is to not overdo it and to be mindful of the effects that these beverages can have on your dental health.

Many of our favorite autumn beverages unfortunately come with elements that are not great for our teeth. They can be loaded with sugar, acidic enough to damage enamel, or made up of chemicals that can stain your teeth, and drinking too much can definitely have long-term effects on your dental health. Fortunately, you can make a few minor tweaks and enjoy your favorite beverages in moderation while still taking good care of your smile.

If you’re one of the millions who love pumpkin spice lattes, you can take a few steps to make them more friendly for your dental health. You can often order them with sugar-free syrup or ask that the barista reduce the number of pumps of syrup that go into your drink. You can even make your own pumpkin spice lattes at home using almond milk and natural sweeteners that are better for your teeth.

Not a fan of pumpkin spice?  Pretty much any autumn beverage can be enjoyed in ways that are more tooth-friendly. If you love a good hot chocolate, try making yours with darker chocolate. Not only does it give a rich, striking flavor, but it has lower sugar content, which is better for your teeth overall.

The very best ways to enjoy your favorite fall beverage while being mindful of your dental health don’t have anything to do with changing the beverages themselves, however. Whether you’re drinking a pumpkin spice latte or a mug of hot cider, you can use a straw to help minimize the contact between your teeth and the beverage.

You can also rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking to help wash away residual sugars, or follow it up with some sugar-free gum. Don’t brush immediately after consuming acidic beverages, as the acid can weaken the enamel of your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water instead and then wait a bit before you brush.

It’s also a good idea not to sip your beverages too slowly. It’s great to take the time to really savor your favorite beverage, but it’s still a good idea to enjoy it in one go rather than nursing it for hours. The longer and slower you drink, the more time those sugars have to hang out on your teeth and do their damage.

Autumn is a wonderful time of year, and it’s the start of the holiday season. There’s no reason at all not to enjoy the things that make you smile this autumn, but remember to be mindful of how those delicious beverages might affect that smile. Of course, make plans for your regular visit to your Kansas City family dentist at Blacker Family Dental by calling (816) 763-8400 or clicking here to schedule an appointment.