What I see in my office is that coffee is THE go-to morning drink for so many people and it seems as though most people can’t start their day without it! It?s a billion dollar industry so it?s safe to say that people all over the world love having coffee. With so much coffee being consumed on a daily basis, I don?t think a lot of people are aware of what their favorite drink could be doing to their teeth and their overall dental health.
Now, this post is not intended to get you to give up your warm, cozy cup of coffee completely, but, I do want you to be aware of the effects coffee can have on your teeth. And don’t worry, at the end, I’ve got tips on how to combat some of the side effects coffee has on your teeth!
The truth is, coffee itself can actually be good for your health. ?But, all of the added sugar into each cup is the biggest concern I have, and most dentists have, about your favorite morning drink. Additionally, coffee definitely can stain your teeth pretty heavily. In Newport Beach, where I practice, people tend to want teeth that are whiter than the whites of their eyes. ?And it’s hard to maintain that when they are drinking 1-2 cups of coffee on a daily basis. Let’s get into a little bit more detail on these topics.
Drinking Coffee Causes Stains to Your Teeth
Coffee contains compounds called tannins. Tannins cause color compounds to really stick to your teeth. When these compounds stick, they can leave that unwanted yellow color on your teeth, which over time gets harder and harder to remove. ?The worst part is that it doesn?t take many cups to start attacking the color of your teeth. In fact, one good cup of coffee can cause your teeth to stain.
We all know that coffee contains caffeine (unless you get decaf, but I don’t know many people that do that). ?A large consumption of caffeine is related to the degradation of the enamel on your teeth. Although the enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, it is not flat and smooth. The enamel, aka the outer layer of your teeth, is what helps keep your teeth strong and healthy. As enamel wears off, your teeth are vulnerable to damage and disease. Additionally, your tooth enamel contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink. Pigments from dark-colored drinks such as coffee, can become embedded in those cracks and ridges and, and if the proper steps are not taken, can cause permanent, yellowing stains on your teeth.
Drinking Coffee Causes Cavities In Your Teeth
There has been some research that suggests that a certain type of coffee bean has an anti-bacterial property. They have found that the coffee actively broke down bacterial biofilms, which are a major cause of tooth decay.? If it is drunk strong, black, without sugar, and in moderation, it could help keep teeth healthy.
Unfortunately, most people will add some type of cream, sugar, or another additive to their coffee to make it taste better, and this can cause cavities. You may not think that you?re putting that much sugar or sweetener into your coffee but every little bit does count. And, when you think about the fact that you?re probably drinking more than one cup per day, it can really start to add up!?
How to protect teeth:
Now that you know how coffee can affect your teeth, I’m going to still assume that you?re like the billion other coffee lovers out there who are not willing to give up their favorite morning drink, so I wanted to share a few ways you reduce the stains to your teeth and the potential cavities.
- Use a straw when drinking your coffee: Drinking with a straw makes it so that less of the staining compounds are coming into direct contact with your teeth. ?This will help prevent staining
- Cut out the creamer and sugar that you use by slowly weaning down the amount that you use in each cup. ?Sadly, I used to put 8 sugar cubes in my tiny cup of tea each day. . .Once I realized the damage this could cause, I started to wean myself off that sugar. ?Now, I have completely cut the sugar out of my tea (Ps: I don’t drink coffee, but tea stains as much as coffee so I though I’d share)
- Add milk to your coffee: I prefer almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. ?Diluting your coffee with milk will help prevent staining as well, and it can help make your coffee taste a little better too (esp when you are cutting out the sugar).
- Drink water while you?re drinking your coffee: Drinking water alongside drinking coffee will help flush away the coffee and the staining compounds. This reduces how long your teeth are in contact with the coffee itself.?
- Try to consume your coffee at specific break times, rather than sipping constantly throughout the day. After finishing your coffee, you can then rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth to remove the potentially yellowing pigments from your teeth.
So tell me, are you a coffee drinker? What ways are you using from the list above to help reduce the damage that coffee can do to your teeth?