Image of pumpkin spice latte on a wooden board with a sweater

Are Pumpkin Spice Lattes Bad for Your Smile?

Autumn is just around the corner, and you know what that means – a chill in the air, leaves changing color, and the return of the pumpkin spice latte! That’s right, the beloved fall beverage is back on the menu. But before you rush to your nearest coffee shop for this delightful seasonal treat, consider the effect that pumpkin spice lattes can have on your smile.

Sugar Content

Unfortunately, that delicious signature pumpkin spice flavor comes with a shockingly high amount of sugar. The average PSL can contain nearly twice the recommended level of daily sugar intake, which is not ideal for your overall health. And it’s particularly bad for your mouth, where harmful bacteria that feed on sugar can wear down your teeth and cause cavities. Because of this, try to drink it with a meal or snack in one sitting, instead of extended sipping over a long morning.

Tooth-Staining Properties

You probably already know that drinking coffee can stain your teeth. This is because food and drink that are dark in color can penetrate your tooth enamel, making your smile look less than pearly white. Drinking pumpkin spice lattes every day might leave you in need of a tooth whitening treatment at the end of autumn.

Caffeine Levels

If you suffer from bruxism, a condition where you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, you might want to skip the pumpkin spice latte, or at least order a decaf. High levels of caffeine can make your anxiety levels soar or cause your jaw muscles to tense, triggering a bruxism episode that may lead to dental issues or TMJ discomfort down the line. If you do suffer from bruxism, our office can make you a custom nightguard to protect your smile!

Enjoy Your PSL Responsibly

We certainly don’t want to burst your bubble by implying that you have to skip the pumpkin spice lattes. Just remember that moderation is key and treat the PSL as an occasional indulgence instead of a daily habit. To protect your smile, you can drink through a straw to minimize contact between the drink and your teeth and rinse your mouth with water after enjoying your latte to help wash away lingering sugar.

Don’t forget to brush and floss to keep your smile healthy and schedule your next visit with the team at Donald Kim, D.D.S. Family and Cosmetic Dentistry!


Image by boyarkinamarina on Freepik September 12, 2023 9:00 am
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