Can Coffee Hurt My Oral Health?

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. About half of the adults in the United States consider coffee to be a staple in their daily routines. But despite its prevalence, many people do not realize this drink can pose a risk to their smiles.

But you do not have to give up your favorite beverage in order to maintain good oral health. Awareness of your coffee habits as well as your dental wellness can allow you to do both. Read on to find advice from your dentist to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best while you drink coffee.

protect your smile with preventative dental care

Tips to Protect Your Smile When Drinking Coffee

Pay Attention to Your Tooth Color

Coffee’s dark color comes from substances called tannins. As you drink coffee, the tannins will transfer to the teeth and absorb into the enamel, leaving deep stains on the surface that you cannot remove with your usual oral hygiene regimen.

You can reduce the likelihood of forming these stains by sipping coffee through a straw or adding milk to the beverage to break up the tannin concentration. But these will not eliminate the risk of dental discoloration entirely.

So to preserve your tooth color, you may want to limit the amount of coffee you drink. Or pay attention to your smile, and if you notice changes in your tooth color, including yellowing or darkening, ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatment options.

Avoid Excess Sugar

Coffee has a naturally bitter taste, so many people will add sugar to their beverages to enhance its flavor. They might enjoy the extra sweetness, but sugar notoriously poses a severe risk to your dental health.

When sugar reacts with saliva, it becomes acidic, and this acid will then eat away at your dental structure. This will weaken the teeth and make them more vulnerable to many dental dangers, including cavities.

While a dentist can treat a cavity, you should preserve your natural dental structure for as long as possible. This is why dentists caution their patients to avoid consuming excess sugar whenever they can, including in their coffee. If you do not enjoy the bitter flavor of black coffee, try to find alternative ways to change its taste.

Drink Water Along with Coffee

One of the more appealing features of coffee is the energy boost that comes from its caffeine. While this can help you get through a busy day, caffeine will also dehydrate you. Low hydration levels can create many health risks, but they will also threaten your oral health.

When you are dehydrated, your mouth will produce less saliva, which will give you dry mouth. The dry oral environment will allow your natural bacteria to spread with greater ease across your teeth. This will increase your chances of contracting an oral infection like gum disease.

Gum disease will require intervention from your dentist to treat, so dentists recommend preventative care for your periodontal health. Drink plenty of water when you have coffee to counteract potential dehydration and dry mouth.