Goodbye summer and hello fall! To kick off the fall season, Starbucks debuted their iconic drink: The PSL’s (Pumpkin Spice Lattes).
While it’s tempting to curl up on the couch drinking a PSL, your pumpkin spice lattes are not comforting to your dental health. It has two harmful ingredients that are a recipe for tooth decay: sugar and coffee. No matter where you purchase these pumpkin flavored coffees, it is filled with lots of different sugars that prove harmful to your teeth and cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Our mouths have about 8 discovered bacteria; which is both good and bad. When you consume a lot of sugar, the bad bacteria, such as plaque, feeds on the food source and quickly overpopulates your mouth, which causes plaque that damages teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque then produce acids that attack the tooth's enamel; that then causes cavities. Too much sugar can also cause early stages of gum disease called gingivitis.
Coffee is notorious for staining teeth. It contains an ingredient called tannin; which is a type of polyphenol that breaks down in the water. This ingredient is what causes color compounds to stick to your teeth. When these compounds stick, they can leave an unwanted yellow tint behind and it only takes one cup of coffee a day to cause stained teeth. Besides stained teeth, coffee causes bad breath because it sticks to the tongue. To get rid of coffee breath, eat food before your coffee and use a tongue scraper and toothbrush after your finish your cup.
It is okay to get in the spirit of fall and order a PSL. However, make it an occasional treat and continue to take care of your oral health. Brushing your teeth every day, twice a day and flossing at least once a day helps cleanse your mouth of harmful bacteria. These harmful bacteria cause tooth decay and other oral issues. Brushing regularly helps remove the effects of sugar stuck on your teeth and reduces chances of bad breath due to coffee. Also, it is important to visit your dentist bi-annually for a checkup so they will be able to catch any problems areas or give your teeth a professional cleaning to remove any buildup of tartar that was missed from a normal brushing.