Do You Know What Coffee Is Doing to Your Oral Health?

Posted on: 29 December 2016

If you start your day with a cup of coffee, you're not alone. Over 80 percent of adults enjoy not just one cup of coffee, but around three cups a day. Have you taken the time to consider what drinking coffee might be doing to your oral health? If not, you should investigate.

Coffee Can Cause Discoloration

When drinking a cup of coffee, the last thing you want to do is spill it on your clothes. If it stains your clothes, rest assured that it's also staining your teeth. The reason for this is the high acid level of coffee.

While enamel naturally wears away overtime, acid only accelerates the process. As your enamel deteriorates, it makes it easier for stain producing substances, like coffee, to travel deep inside the enamel and cause discoloration, leading to yellow or off white teeth.

Coffee Can Cause Bad Breath

Drinking coffee can also lead to a mini case of halitosis. When you drink a cup of coffee, some of the coffee stays behind by latching on to your tongue. This might seem harmless, but any substance that stays on the tongue will eventually start to smell.

If you're drinking coffee on your way to work, by midday, the coffee probably has your breath smelling less than fresh. If you're drinking several cups throughout the day, it's probably even worse.

Protecting Your Teeth

Fortunately, if coffee is the only thing that's getting you focused in the morning, you don't necessarily have to avoid it.  However, you do want to make some changes to limit any negative effects on your oral health.   

Drink it First—Try to have your coffee when you first wake up in the morning. When you have coffee on your way out the door or you stop on your way to work, you don't have a chance to brush your teeth again. Having the coffee earlier gives you ample time to brush which can help reduce the likelihood of staining.

Have Some Fruit—If you're having coffee while out and about, have some fruit nearby to snack on. Fruits like strawberries are rich in fiber and they can help clean your teeth. When you don't have an opportunity to brush, the fruit can somewhat semi-clean your teeth until you get home.

Skip the Creamer—Try to avoid adding creamer and sugar to your coffee. These ingredients only increase the already high acidity of the coffee, which accelerates enamel erosion and staining. If you can't completely give them up, at least try to cut down your portions or skip it on some days.

If you're concerned about coffee staining your teeth, make sure you're discussing this topic with your dentist.