Is Your Coffee Habit Bad for Your Teeth?
Whether you “drip and sip” at home or you just can’t live without your daily latte run, we all know that coffee makes our mornings much more manageable. But how much does your coffee addiction impact your dental health? Is coffee bad for your teeth? With National Caffeine Awareness Month taking place this March, we thought we would share some important truths about your coffee habit… and how bad it really is for your teeth. Dr. E also has tips for her patients who want to maintain a bright, beautiful smile without sacrificing their favorite habit.
The Truth About Tannins
Tannins are naturally occurring compounds that help give coffee its bitter, distinctive taste. Tannins contain many beneficial antioxidants, but they are also responsible for sticking to and staining the teeth. If you love your regular cup (or cups!) of coffee and you find your teeth yellowing, tannins are the likely culprit.
Coffee and Oral Health
In addition to staining your teeth, coffee can impact your oral health in other ways. Its heavy acidity can weaken the teeth over time, causing them to be more brittle and susceptible to tooth and enamel erosion. Also, while you may thoroughly enjoy your daily java habit, those around you may feel differently. That’s because coffee inhibits saliva production, sticks to the tongue and has drying effects on the mouth. The result? Bad coffee breath!
Are Coffee Stains Permanent?
While coffee stains can be very difficult to remove from your teeth, the good news is that they do not permanently stain the teeth. A thorough cleaning by your dentist will remove most of the yellowing caused by chronic coffee consumption. Patients can also proactively protect their teeth from coffee stains by using dental products such as whitening toothpastes and strips. Dr. E’s GLO in-office and at-home teeth whitening treatments are also an ideal solution for coffee-loving patients who wish to preserve their pearly whites.
Can I Enjoy My Coffee and Keep My Teeth White?
Fortunately, the answer is YES. But it takes some diligence on the part of coffee lovers (and their dentists : ). Just as your morning cup of coffee is part of your routine, make these practices part of your dental routine to prevent coffee from harming your smile:
- Brush and floss after each cup of Joe. A quick “brush up” will help prevent discoloration and decay. If your toothbrush isn’t handy, at least try to rinse or swish your mouth with water following your coffee run.
- Milk it! The darker your cup of coffee, the more it will stain your teeth. Adding milk to your coffee can counterbalance the acids found in coffee to help protect enamel and safeguard your smile.
- Use a straw. Think about it… using a straw is a simple way to help minimize the contact that coffee has with your teeth. This will help preserve the tooth enamel because the coffee won’t have a close encounter with the teeth’s vulnerable outer surfaces. There are some fantastic reusable metal and silicone straws on the market today that work great with both hot and iced coffees. Bonus–they are as great for the environment as they are for your smile!
- Cut back. Does one latte or espresso lead to another? If so, consider cutting back to one cup a day. Try to replace those additional cups of coffee with water to boost your overall health.
- See your dentist regularly! While everyone should see their dentist regularly, this is especially true for coffee lovers. Bi-annual deep cleanings help restore and repair the teeth from the effects of coffee stains and other residual damage and decay. Your dentist can also recommend a simple and safe teeth-whitening treatment such as GLO for patients who wish to maintain a bright, white smile in between dental visits.
Just as your coffee routine is habitual, it’s smart to make good oral hygiene part of your daily routine. That’s because if you choose to prioritize your dental health, you don’t have to deprive yourself of coffee – you can still sip, smile, and show off your beautiful, gleaming smile.
Dr. E urges patients to be proactive when it comes to dental health. Contact the Dr. E Cosmetic & Family Dentistry team today to schedule your dental cleaning! 480-494-2435.