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The days are getting shorter, the air has that crisp chill, and the leaves are changing their colors. After a year of waiting, pumpkin spice season has finally returned. But while you’re loading up on your yearly supply of autumnal lattes, teas, and pastries, it’s worth taking a moment to consider your fall dental health. As delicious as our favorite seasonal beverages and snacks may be, taking a little extra care this cooler season will ensure you can continue enjoying your favorite pumpkin spice treats without harm to your teeth. Here’s what to consider about dental issues and drinks this autumn season.


How Sugar Affects Tooth Health

For many people, the final few months of the year are filled with sugary indulgence. Delicious fall drink flavors, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dessert, and holiday cookies–all of these treats help make the colder months more joyful, but the sugar can quickly add up. And when it comes to teeth, dentist issues and sugar go hand-in-hand.

You might be surprised to learn just how much sugar our favorite autumn beverages have. While many people might think that a regular cafe latte contains no sugar, it actually contains 18 grams of sugar from the milk itself. For comparison, a 16 oz pumpkin spice latte contains almost 50 grams of sugar: nearly three times as much as a regular latte. That high sugar content is what makes good fall dental health practices important.

One main concern with sugary food is the risk of cavities. When sugar combines with your saliva and the natural bacteria in your mouth, it encourages plaque formation on your teeth. This sticky film of bacteria can damage enamel if not properly removed, as the bacteria secrete acids that damage teeth. This will result in cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. But by keeping a closer eye on your fall dental health, you can keep your teeth healthy through the end of the year and beyond.


Fall Flavors and Tooth Health

Of course, avoiding all sugary foods this season would be the most failsafe way to stay on top of your fall dental health. However, most people can maintain good fall dental health even with the occasional sweet indulgence.

  1. Drink water after a sugary treat. Immediately brushing your teeth after eating a lot of sugar can risk damaging your teeth while bacteria-secreted acids are at their peak. Instead of brushing right away, swish water around your mouth to remove as much sugar from your teeth and gums as possible.
  2. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. Sticking to your usual tooth care regimen is essential when you know you’ll eat more sugar.
  3. Be mindful of sugar consumption. One of the best ways to protect your teeth is by watching what you eat in the first place. Consider ordering your favorite pumpkin spice latte as a special occasion treat.

One of the most important things you can do for your fall dental health this season is to schedule a check-up with your dentist. Going into the holiday season, your dentist can identify any warning signs and make sure your teeth stay healthy. If you’re looking for a dentist that can see to the needs of your whole family, look no further than Pinnacle Dental Associates in Albany, Oregon.