We all know that lots of people drink coffee. Lots of us are also aware that coffee can stain your teeth. But let’s talk about everything else it can do to your teeth, some things that you may have never expected.
When we think of coffee and teeth, we all think about the leftover coffee stains it leaves behind. But there are actually a few other huge things it does to our teeth and our mouths that we don’t always think about.
First, enamel erosion.
Coffee is acidic and acids erode tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the entire body. It’s stronger than bone. It takes a lot to damage tooth enamel, ironically though it only covers the outer surface of the part of your tooth above the gums. It’s unfortunate that the enamel is not invincible to acids and bacteria. That’s why we get both tooth decay and enamel erosion. When we are constantly drinking acidic drinks over time, we can lose tooth enamel. Once the enamel is worn away, the dentin layer of the tooth underneath is exposed which often leads to pain and sensitivity.
In addition, coffee can contribute to acid reflux. People who suffer from acid reflux may also have worsened tooth erosion due to that as well. Acid reflux disease, highly acidic diets, eating disorders, and there are a bunch of other factors that can contribute to enamel erosion. So it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you are a coffee drinker.
Next up, cavities.
Similar to enamel erosion, cavities are caused by acids as well, but usually due to the bacteria that cause the secretion of the acids on your teeth, as opposed to the acidity of the drink itself. When we’re talking about sugar and bacteria, we all know sugar causes cavities. Lots of us aren’t just drinking plain black coffee every day. We oftentimes might be adding sugar and maybe we’re even visiting Starbucks routinely for lattes or Frappuccino. All of those fancy sugary coffee drinks from coffee shops totally increase your risk of cavities.
Again, if you’re consuming abnormally large quantities of sugars or sweet liquids daily, your mouth won’t be able to keep up. Definitely, if you are a daily coffee drinker, remember you can’t get rid of the acidity because coffee is acidic. But keep in mind that you can work to lower the sugar content. Try to drink your coffee black.
Finally, bad breath.
Coffee can actually cause some serious bad breath. This is because every time you drink coffee, the residue left inside of your mouth feeds the natural flora that makes up your oral biology. Some of the bacteria are good, and some of the bacteria are bad. If your coffee has creamer or sweeteners in it, these extra sugars are artificial or not. These extra sugars are there for bacteria to feed on. The more often you drink, the more bacterial waste products are produced which causes bad breath.
So if bad breath is a concern of yours and it seems to be worse after you drink coffee, make sure you’re doing a good job of cleaning out your mouth after drinking coffee. Sip on water throughout the day to help combat bad breath, cavities, enamel erosion, and tooth stain. Never let coffee be the last thing that touches your teeth.
I understand not everyone has the time to brush their teeth more than twice a day. But everyone does have the time to easily drink water. Because if you were already drinking coffee you can also drink water. So keeping water at your desk at work, or wherever you are, bring it with you and make sure you really swish it around your mouth and teeth to minimize the amount of coffee residue from sitting on your teeth for too long.
Some other things you can do to help limit any dental issues from coffee.
- One is drinking through a straw. This will give the coffee less contact time on your teeth thus lowering your chances of cavities and stains.
- You can also use whitening toothpaste which will help prevent stains. And make sure it also has fluoride in it to strengthen your enamel to protect you from both enamel erosion and cavities.
- Also, make sure you visit your dentist’s office regularly for routine cleanings. When plaque buildup hardens into tartar, it will not come off safely at home. You need a dental professional to remove it for you which will limit your chance of having bad breath, also it will help with reducing your risk of cavities and gum disease.
- Lastly, upgrade to an electric toothbrush at home if you can. Powered rotary or sonic toothbrushes naturally give you more strokes per second than you would get brushing with a regular manual toothbrush. When you use them on a routine basis, you’ll see better plaque removal and better stain prevention which can help prevent cavities gum disease, etc.
- One more thing, if you are a daily coffee drinker, try to stay away from all of the other stain-causing foods and drinks. Because it will just increase your risk of having more stains. Some of the most common offenders are cigarettes, tea, red wine, berries, curry, soda, sports drinks, popsicles fruit juice such as grape juice, and cranberry juice. Really anything that would stain a white t-shirt would stain your teeth over time as well.
So in all, it’s important to keep in mind all of the bad things coffee can do to your teeth. But it’s also okay to drink it as long as you’re taking proper precautions of keeping your teeth happy and healthy.
Hope this blog helped you. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.