Coffee is the lifeblood of a lot of people around the world. It’s the boost they need to get through the day, it’s the pick-me-up they turn to when work is over and they still need to push through the rest of the evening, and it’s the habit a lot of people can’t seem to get rid of.
We’ve previously looked at the health benefits of coffee and what coffee can do to your body when you drink it, but one thing we haven’t talked about is what it can do to your teeth.
Sugar has always been the number one enemy of dentists, as the sugars that are left on our teeth are fed on my plaque and bacteria. This can lead to gum disease, decay, and even serious health problems associated with oral hygiene. But what about coffee?
We know that sugary drinks like soda are harmful for our bodies and our teeth, and we know that coffee, in moderation, can have some overall health benefits, but is your morning cup of coffee leading to further problems with your teeth?
Coffee Effects on Our Teeth
Teeth Staining from Coffee
One of the major concerns amongst those that drink coffee is staining of the teeth. Coffee, just like other dark, acidic, beverages, can stain your teeth over time.
So yes, drinking coffee can begin to stain your teeth if you are drinking it consistently. However, the good news is that the staining is usually just cosmetic and is not necessarily leading to further teeth related disease or decay.
Over time the teeth will start to become yellow and discolored, but there are some things you can do to help prevent, or limit, the staining on your teeth from coffee.
- After you finish your cup of coffee, brush your teeth. This will clean any coffee remnants off your teeth.
- Use whitening toothpaste when brushing.
- Swish some water around in your mouth after you’ve finished your coffee, or just drink a glass of water. This will help to clean out any remaining coffee.
- Use a straw with your coffee. This will prevent the coffee from hitting the fronts of your teeth but could still lead to staining on the backs of your teeth, but that is far less visible.
The good thing about teeth stains from coffee is that they can often be reversed through either a normal cleaning at the dentist or a tooth whitening treatment, but it’s best to try and prevent the stains before the have a chance to happen.
Coffee Can Weaken Enamel
While the stains on your teeth from coffee can be reversed and are often strictly cosmetic, coffee can weaken the enamel on your teeth as well.
Coffee is naturally acidic and if you drink a lot of it, it can begin to weaken the enamel on your teeth which can lead to more bacteria growing and tooth decay. But don’t get discouraged, black coffee itself is actually less acidic than orange juice. So while it coffee has a pH of around 5, orange juice has a pH of about 3.8. And in the case of pH, the lower the value the more acidic it is.
As long as you’re making sure to wash out your mouth after drinking your coffee, or brushing your teeth, you probably won’t run into any major issues from drinking coffee alone.
The major issue when it comes to teeth and coffee comes from people who drink super sugary coffee drinks as opposed to black coffee.
All of the added sugar and sweeteners can be just as bad for your teeth as eating candy since the sugar will begin to grow bacteria and can eventually wear down your teeth and cause decay. So if you’re really looking to get the most benefit from your coffee without the negative side effects, we suggest cutting out the sugars and sweeteners.
And speaking of coffee being good for you, there have been some studies that have shown black coffee can actually help neutralize the bacteria that causes plaque build-up. The polyphenols found more so in Robusta coffee beans have been shown to have an antibacterial effect within your mouth.
Coffee and Your Teeth
While black coffee has shown some positive results in terms of oral health, coffee drinks with lots of added sugars and sweeteners can have just the opposite effect. And while coffee will eventually start staining your teeth if you drink enough of it over time, the stains can usually be removed, or at least reduced, through basic dental treatments.
There are a lot of people in the world that can’t go without their cup of coffee in the morning, and as long as you’re not overdoing it, the benefits of black coffee certainly outweigh the risks or possibility of teeth staining.But remember, everything in moderation.