Winter is here, which means the days are getting colder. On days like these, it’s nice to have a cup of tea or a hot chocolate to warm you up. There’s nothing like a warm drink in your hands on a cold winter’s day.
However, did you know that hot drinks, like tea, coffee and hot chocolate, can be bad for your teeth? In this post, we’ll discuss the things to watch out for when you’re enjoying a hot drink this winter. We’ll also give you some tips to help you protect your teeth.
Tea – one sugar or none?
Most people like sugar in their tea – whether it’s one, two or even three teaspoons.
However, as dentists, it’s our job to discourage people from ingesting sugar as much as possible. This includes the sugar you put in your tea. Sugar is bad for your teeth because it can cause cavities and plaque.
Instead of putting sugar in your tea, why not try a sugar-free sweetener instead? Or you could try teas that can be drunk without sugar, such as herbal teas.
Tannins and teeth staining
There’s another good reason to switch from black tea to herbal tea. That reason is tannins. Tannins are a compound that can stain your teeth. Black tea, which is the kind of tea that most people in the UK drink, are high in tannins. This is why people who drink tea every day sometimes have yellow teeth. Herbal teas, on the other hand, are low in tannins which means they won’t stain your teeth as much.
Know the sugar content of drinks
Lots of big cafe chains sell festive drinks this time of the year. Take Starbucks’s Eggnog Latte and Caffe Nero’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate for example. These drinks are popular because they warm you up and evoke feelings of Christmas.
However, did you know that these drinks are very high in sugar? Starbucks’s Eggnog Latte contains 33.8 grams of sugar and Caffe Nero’s Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate has a whopping 38.9 grams of sugar. For reference, men should eat only 37.5 grams of added sugar per day and women should eat a maximum of 25 grams. So one of these drinks alone contains an entire day’s allowance of sugar.
It’s nice to have a festive drink now and then, but don’t drink them too often, as all the sugar could lead to cavities and dental decay.
Visit your dentist regularly
Finally, one of the best ways to protect your teeth from hot drinks is to see a dentist often. Your dentist can check if you have any problems, like cavities or gum disease. You’ll also receive advice on how to look after your teeth.
And of course, don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day. This is fundamental to keeping your teeth strong and healthy.