As we embark on the iconic fall foliage season here in New England, we’re excited to celebrate all things autumn; however, for those of you who count the days until Dunkin’ releases its pumpkin spice coffees, please give this a read before you take that first sip…
The pitfalls of pumpkin spice
To say that pumpkin spice is popular would be an understatement. In fact, since Starbucks introduced the world to the pumpkin spice latte in 2003, sales have skyrocketed, topping $236 million between 2021-2022.
That’s a pretty sweet profit margin for Starbucks. Speaking of sweet, the bitter reality of indulging in a pumpkin spice latte is the amount of sugar that is packed into each one.
To be exact, a grande pumpkin spice latte contains 50 grams of sugar, which translates to roughly 7.5 teaspoons or 32 grams added by the whipped cream and pumpkin sauce. To put this into perspective, current research recommends a daily sugar intake of no more than six teaspoons, which equals about 24 grams.
What’s even worse than a Starbucks PSL?
Look no further than local fan favorite: Dunkin’, whose signature pumpkin spice latte contains a whopping 71 grams of sugar.
It’s no secret that sugar can compromise your dental health and put your teeth at greater risk for developing cavities.
Here’s a quick breakdown on sugars and tooth decay, courtesy of Action on Sugar:
When sugar is consumed it interacts with the bacteria within the plaque to produce acid. This acid is responsible for tooth decay because it slowly dissolves the enamel creating holes or cavities in the teeth. Tooth decay can lead to tooth abscesses, which may result in the tooth having to be removed.
Not only does sugar consumption potentially lead to cavities and tooth decay, the extent of the damage can require a tooth extraction.
Safeguard your teeth against sugar
There’s nothing wrong with having a sweet tooth; the name of the game is to practice good oral hygiene so that you don’t wind up with dental issues like cavities or the need for an extraction.
Simply follow the golden rule of oral hygiene: brush at least two times a day, more often if you’ve consumed a few extra sugary treats. In fact, if you know you’re a real sugar lover, make sure you swap out your toothbrush more regularly because increased sugar consumption can result in more plaque buildup compared to those who aren’t as drawn to sugar-laden snacks or beverages.
In addition to regular or increased brushing, try to choose sugar-free options, including sugar-free coffee drinks, whenever possible or chew a stick of sugar-free gum after snacking to increase saliva production and help clear away some of the sugar before you brush. Sipping water throughout the day can help rinse your teeth and gums from sugar residue, too.