Submitted by Delta Dental of Washington.
We all look forward to seasonal beverages and though it may feel (and taste) like the most wonderful time of the year, frequently indulging in these holiday drinks can be harmful to your smile.
Excessive quantities of sugar in seasonal beverages such as hot chocolate, eggnog, and mochas fuel bacteria leading to cavities and demineralization. While other seasonal favorites such as wine contain acidic compounds that damage and weaken the enamel causing you to be more prone to cavities and staining.
“If you’re not careful sugary seasonal beverages can be the Grinch that steals your smile. While enjoying the season with your favorite latte or hot chocolate, sugar-free might be a better choice,” said Dr. Jeff Reynolds, Delta Dental member dentist and Dental Care & Dental Director for Community Health Care. “If you must partake, please make sure you watch the frequency of your consumption and maintain proper oral hygiene. The holidays are a time to smile, make sure yours is a bright one.”
Some of the seasonal beverages that can damage your smile include:
- Pumpkin Spice Latte – The pumpkin spice latte is overwhelmed by its massive sugar content. At just 16-ounces, this extremely tasty, yet very sweet beverage contains 50 grams of sugar. In simpler terms, this is 12 teaspoons of sugar – twice the recommended daily consumption. Instead of ordering the largest size available, consider downsizing to minimize any damage.
- Eggnog – While eggnog is a holiday favorite, it’s not so friendly to your teeth. Eggnog contains more than enough fat and sugar, so much in fact that the fatty content thickens the consistency which allows sugar to layer on your teeth – and when sugar hangs around for long periods of time, it causes bacteria growth resulting in bad breath and cavities.
- Wine – Not only does red wine stain your teeth, it also erodes the enamel. In fact, white wine is more acidic than red wine and frequent consumption wouldn’t be the best choice for the holiday season. Brushing may seem like a great idea to prevent stains, however, brushing your teeth immediately after consuming wine could also cause more damage due to the enamel softening from the acidity. Waiting at least 30 minutes prior to brushing allows your saliva to begin counteracting the acid levels in your mouth. For on-the-go dental hygiene, consider using wine wipes. Using wine wipes is a convenient alternative to eliminate red wine stains from your teeth. It contains a blend of stain and teeth-protecting ingredients without obstructing the flavor of wine.
Although many seasonal drinks are bad for dental health, there are some tweaks that can be made to make beverages better for your smile by reducing sugar content and seeking healthier alternatives. Some seasonal beverages that are better for your smile – and that should be consumed in moderation – include:
- Dark Hot Chocolate – Dark chocolate contains tannins – an antioxidant which helps stop bacteria from developing on your teeth. Simultaneously, cocoa butter, a main ingredient in dark chocolate, also helps prevent plaque from forming because it’s filled with antioxidants which create a protective coat around your teeth. The darker the chocolate, the better for your dental health. But as always when enjoying a special treat, be conscious of the sugar content you’re consuming.
- Golden Milk – Golden milk is a delicious alternative to your typical holiday beverage and grants many healthy benefits. The recipe contains two main ingredients – turmeric and black pepper which combined with water make a yellow paste. Adding virgin coconut oil and coconut or regular milk completes the healthy concoction. Used as an all-natural remedy for health issues such as improving cardiac function, boosting digestive health, and better blood circulation. Golden milk is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties which helps lower risk of infection and disease, counteracts cell damage, and contributes to your overall health – but most of all it’s great for your smile and it doesn’t stain your teeth.
- Skinny Peppermint Mocha – It wouldn’t be the holidays without the peppermint mocha, and you can still enjoy the holiday season with the help of these tweaks. Simply swapping out whole milk with nonfat milk cuts the fat and calorie intake without reducing the calcium content which strengthens your teeth and bones. You can also consider substituting with almond, soy and coconut milks. Requesting sugar-free peppermint and sugar-free mocha will help you enjoy the same sweet taste without the calories and sugar. The less sugar in your drink, the better for your teeth.
When it comes to consuming holiday beverages, always remember to drink plenty of water this season. To maintain the health of your smile, practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and regularly visiting your dentist.
For additional information about how to maintain good dental health this holiday season, visit www.deltadentalwa.com/blog.Print This Post