The Truth About Coffee and Your Teeth

coffee and teeth

As the coffee industry grows into a $30 billion industry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 83% of adults in America drink coffee. Whether it’s through the drive-thru on the way to work or from a French press at home, coffee is undeniably a winner when it comes to the perfect wake-me-up drink. Coffee is the superhero of mornings, but coffee doesn’t always play nice when it comes to oral health.

Coffee and teeth

Whether we like or not, coffee lovers have probably discovered that coffee has one downside: the negative effects on the mouth and teeth. The most common issues with coffee include:

  • Teeth staining
  • Bad breath
  • Risk of cavities: This does not apply to black coffee. Sugary coffee drinks can contribute to cavities if the drink is excessively sugary. Remember that sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria.

How does coffee stain teeth?

Enamel may be hard, but it is also porous. This means that the surface of the tooth’s enamel contains small ridges and areas that can hold microscopic bits of food or drinks. The very pigment of dark drinks (especially red wine and coffee and tea) can become lodged into the microscopic ridges in the enamel of a tooth. Once the pigment is trapped there, staining occurs.

Have your coffee and drink it too!

Thankfully, there are many ways to enjoy your morning cup of java while maintaining good oral health.

Prevent stains

Although not all stains can be 100% avoided, you can reduce your risk of staining.

  • Use a straw to drink your coffee: Straws work best for cold or iced coffee, not hot beverages.
  • Brushing your teeth as soon as you can after drinking: Opt for a whitening toothpaste and whitening mouthwash for extra power.
  • Avoid cream and sugar: Cream does not dilute the staining power of coffee, and sugar can increase the risk of cavities.
  • Eat fruit with your breakfast: Because fruit is high in fiber, it can actually “clean” your teeth after drinking coffee. (You still have to brush though!)
  • Drink your coffee in one sitting: Spreading your coffee drink throughout the day increases your risks of staining.

Treat stains

It only takes one cup of joe per day to start discoloring your teeth. If you already have staining, speak with your dentist about in-office teeth whitening treatments. Once you have restored your pearly whites, remember to implement the stain prevention tips from above.

Eliminate bad breath

While drinking coffee can be divine, having “coffee breath” is not. That “coffee breath” becomes problematic because the coffee sticks to the tongue. Reduce your risk of bad breath by eating some breakfast before drinking that first sip of coffee. Second, incorporate a tongue scraper into your brushing routine.

Do you have coffee stained teeth?

Are you ready to tackle those pesky stains? If you think a whitening treatment is right for you, schedule a consultation to speak with your dentist. As always, keep your regular dental appointments and maintain a good brushing routine at home.

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