If you’re a regular coffee fiend and simply can’t fathom going one day without a cup of Joe, you might be wondering what effects the beverage is having on your body—including how it’s impacting your pearly whites! Believe it or not, as life-changing as coffee might be, it’s not exactly great for your oral health. Here’s more from your dentist about how the drink can impact your smile along with some tips for enjoying coffee with fewer risks!
How Coffee Influences Your Oral Health
Let’s face it; coffee can do a lot for you if you’re someone who needs that little extra kick to get going in the morning. But like most things in life, coffee should be enjoyed in moderation, as overconsumption is simply not great for your oral health. Even just a single cup of coffee every day increases the risk of developing cavities since one cup often contains a sizable amount of sugar.
Coffee can also contribute to halitosis (bad breath) because of its thick scent and propensity to increase oral bacteria in the mouth. This same bacterium is what can lead to tooth enamel erosion; and once your enamel is gone, it doesn’t grow back!
Lastly, coffee is notorious for causing tooth discoloration. The beverage contains particles called tannins, which are also present in other beverages that also cause staining like red wine and tea. These particles stain the outer layer of your enamel; this is called extrinsic staining. Coffee also stains your teeth through the erosion of your enamel, as it exposes more of the underlying layer of yellow dentin; this is known as intrinsic staining.
Tips for Lessening Coffee’s Impact on Oral Health
You don’t necessarily have to give up coffee entirely to protect your smile from its potentially harmful effects; there are several precautionary measures you can take and adjustments you can make, such as:
- Drink your coffee quickly rather than sipping it throughout the day (ideally within 20 minutes).
- Consider using a straw to minimize the amount of contact between the coffee and your teeth.
- Minimize the number of sugary additives in your coffee (cream, sugar, syrups, etc.).
- Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth shortly after a cup of coffee.
- Wait 30 minutes after drinking coffee to brush your teeth, to give your saliva the chance to neutralize the acids.
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Teeth whitening is also an option for coffee-related staining!
Knowing how coffee affects your mouth and following these tips will go a long way toward preserving your beautiful smile if you simply can’t resist brewing a cup of coffee to start your day!
About the Author
Dr. Stephen Dean is thrilled to bring an exceptional level of dental care to his patients and families in the Covington community. Dr. Dean received his dental doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina and maintains membership in several professional organizations including the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry. If you have any questions about the article or would like to arrange a visit, feel free to contact Dr. Dean through his practice’s website or by phone for assistance at (770) 786-3915.