Coffee is a morning essential for many Americans. Many people feel as though they can’t function without it. Whether you drink coffee for the caffeine, warmth on a cold morning, or to give you something to do, that roasted bean beverage affects your teeth. Here are some things coffee is doing to your pearly whites:
- Stains. Stains are the most obvious downfall when it comes to coffee. If something can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth. Coffee contains tannins, which is a polyphenol that appears in other drinks such as wine and tea. This substance breaks down in water and causes color substances to more easily stick to your teeth. Heavy coffee or tea drinkers can easily pick up a yellow hue that is hard to remove.
- Acids. Acids aren’t a specifically coffee problem. Every drink that isn’t water reacts with the natural bacteria to create acids that may be harmful to your teeth. Coffee is no exception. These acids can wear away your enamel, which leaves your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay.
- Saliva. Coffee has high amounts of caffeine, which can decrease saliva production and dry out your mouth. Saliva is a natural killer of harmful bacteria and washes away debris, so when your mouth is dry, fewer bacteria and debris is being washed away. Not only is this lack of saliva detrimental to your teeth, but also can cause bad breath. Coffee sticks to your tongue and without the saliva washing it away, you may notice bad breath.
What can you do?
- Moderation. You might not want to get rid of coffee completely. Drink it in moderation, 1-2 cups per day. It is also better for your teeth to drink the coffee all at once as opposed to sipping on it throughout the entire day. Drinking your coffee throughout the day can allow the bacteria to build up. Also, consider drinking it through a straw as this doesn’t allow as much direct contact with the teeth.
- Toothpaste. If you drink your coffee in one sitting, try to brush your teeth ASAP. If you can’t brush, drink water and eat some fruit or vegetables, which can break down the coffee bacteria and wash away the bad acids. If you’re worried about the look of your teeth, try some toothpaste with whitening toothpaste.
- Dentist. If you are an avid coffee drinker, it’s imperative to visit the dentist every six months. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned can help get rid of some of the stains and assure that there is no buildup of bacteria or tartar.
If you have any questions or need a cleaning, contact us today!