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How Does Coffee Affect the Health of Your Teeth?

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For many, the ideal morning starts with a fresh, hot cup of coffee. It gives you the energy you need to get going in the morning and make the most out of your day. Did you know that over half of the American adult population begins their day with coffee? This beverage has actually shown to have many different health benefits, but there are some concerns as well. This is especially the case when it comes to your dental health. Read on to learn about how coffee affects your oral health, discoloration, and what you can do to minimize these consequences.

What Effects Does Coffee Have on Your Dental Health?

The only beverage that doesn’t contribute to bacterial growth in the mouth is water. When you drink coffee, especially if you are adding sugar, you will have additional bacteria in the mouth which will eat away at your protective enamel. This increases your risk of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems. The acidic nature of the beverage makes you more likely to experience enamel erosion which can make your teeth more vulnerable to sensitivity and damage.

How Does Coffee Discolor Teeth?

Some darker colored beverages, like red wine, tea, and coffee, contain an ingredient known as “tannin.” This is a chemical compound found in edible plants that belongs to a larger group of compounds known as “polyphenols.” This ingredient is known for contributing to the color and flavor of different foods and beverages, However, when it builds up on the enamel of the tooth, you are often left with discoloration that is difficult to remove.

How Can You Prevent Tooth Discoloration?

In order to prevent staining from drinking coffee, the most obvious thing would be to reduce the amount of the beverage you consume. However, if you feel like you can’t go without your morning cup, you can take the following steps to lessen the effects:

  • Drink Quickly: Sipping on a coffee for many hours only lengthens your teeth’s exposure.
  • Rinse: Swish some water around your mouth afterwards to wash lingering coffee away.
  • Use a Straw: This limits the contact between the liquid and your teeth.

What Can You Do to Reverse Staining?

If you have accumulated coffee stains on your teeth after many years that regular brushing doesn’t seem to reduce, you aren’t necessarily stuck with it. Ask your dentist about take-home whitening kits. They are safe and work much better than anything you can buy over the counter. Best of all, they are customized to your individual smile. In just a matter of weeks, you can whiten your teeth by eight shades.

As great as your cup of coffee tastes in the morning, it is important to recognize the effects that it has on your smile. The good news it that you don’t need to give it up for good. Just take precautions when drinking it and talk to your dentist about other steps you can take to keep your teeth white and healthy.

About the Author

Dr. Thaddeus S. Michalski is a well experienced dentist in Rocky Hill, CT who has been in practice for nearly two decades. He earned his degree from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine after serving four years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps. Dr. Michalski has achieved Fellowship status in the Misch Implant Institute and the Academy of General Dentistry. For more information on how to best take care of your smile or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (860) 563-4544.