From waking yourself each morning to relaxing in the evening with a cup after dinner, coffee is a desirable beverage that appeals to people of all ages. This versatile beverage is enjoyable steaming hot and black or on ice and covered in whipped cream, but all forms offer the caffeinated goodness so many people want and need. If you are part of the 83 percent of adults in the United States who drink coffee, understanding how the beverage affects your teeth is important. Using this guide on the possible dental dangers of coffee, you can protect your smile without giving up your favorite drink.
While surprising to hear, one cup of coffee each day can wreak havoc on the look and underlying health of your smile. However, most people drink multiple cups each day, resulting in damaged, unattractive smiles. Here are a few ways coffee can affect your smile:
- Discoloration – Yellow or brown colored stains on the teeth are common problems for coffee drinkers. This discoloration stems from the dark pigments in coffee. While the staining occurs quickly, it can be difficult to remove from the surface enamel of your teeth. Unfortunately, adding cream to lighten the coffee does not decrease the dark pigments. No matter how you take your coffee, it will stain your teeth.
- Enamel Damage – Coffee contains caffeine, which is great for your energy. However, excessive amounts of caffeine can erode the surface enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities, decay, and painful infections. Adding sweetener to your coffee only increases your risk of enamel damage and cavities.
- Dry Mouth – Saliva is necessary for ridding the mouth of residue and bacteria, but an increased amount of caffeine can reduce your saliva production. This results in an uncomfortable dry mouth that increases your risk of dental problems. In addition, dry mouth can cause you to have bad breath.
- Pain and Discomfort – Drinking excessive amounts of coffee can also create sleeping problems. Due to the increased consumption of caffeine, you may clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night. Over time, this clenching and grinding will destroy your tooth enamel, leading to pain and discomfort.
What to Do
Giving up coffee permanently is not a possibility for most people, but reducing your intake can help. If you drink 3 or more cups every day, give up at least one of those daily cups to prevent further damage to your teeth.
Here are a few other tips to protect your teeth and prevent further damage:
- Suck it Up – Drinking through a straw will decrease the exposure of coffee and sugar to your teeth.
- Rinse it Off – Drink a glass of water after each cup of coffee to rinse away residue and keep your mouth moist.
- Brush ASAP – While not always a feasible option depending on time and location, brushing your teeth after each cup of coffee is an effective way to decrease discoloration.
- Pull Some Oil – Used thousands of years ago to rid the body of toxins, oil pulling is becoming a way to clean and whiten teeth today. Every night, place a teaspoon of coconut oil into your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. Spit in a trashcan and brush your teeth as usual. The oil removes residue from the mouth after drinking coffee.
- Visit Your Dentist – Since coffee and other caffeinated beverages increase your risk of dental problems, visiting your dentist twice per year is smart for treatment. Whitening treatments are effective for removing stains. However, fluoride applications are beneficial for strengthening and repairing tooth enamel.
Coffee is an enjoyable beverage that is necessary for many people to get through the day. If you are a chronic coffee drinker, this guide can help you understand the possible dangers of the beverage and best ways to prevent further damage. Continue here for additional info.