Let me guess.
You drink a lot of coffee.
Maybe it gives you the morning boost you need. Or you just enjoy the delicious flavor.
But do you know what coffee does to your teeth?
I’m sure you are aware of many of coffee’s side effects.
Like everything else, coffee has its pros and cons when it comes to your health. And its impact on our teeth is one of them.
Keep reading to learn how coffee affects our dental health, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Is Coffee Bad For Your Teeth?
Yes, coffee is bad for your teeth. But not nearly as bad as you may think.
You may have heard the rule of thumb that says if it can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth. Coffee can stain your clothes, so this rule of thumb does apply.
And prolonged coffee consumption definitely leads to stained teeth. Moreover, coffee is well known for leaving you with bad breath after drinking it.
But stained teeth and bad breath are cosmetic issues. But we wouldn’t say that coffee is bad for your teeth based solely on stains and bad breath.
That said, these cosmetic issues are a big deal for some. If you care a lot about the appearance of your teeth, then you might consider coffee bad for your teeth, based just on this issue.
But coffee can cause more serious damages to your teeth.
Coffee is an acidic drink. And acid is bad for your teeth because it causes enamel erosion.
Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth that protects them from the environment.
When the enamel is worn down, your teeth are at higher risk of disease, because they are more exposed to bacteria. It also causes sensitivity problems.
There is also a belief that coffee causes tooth decay, but this is not true. Coffee doesn’t directly contribute to cavity formation.
But because it degrades the enamel, it makes it simpler for cavities to form.
How Can You Prevent Damage?
Dentists recommend using an enamel-strengthening toothpaste to slow down or even stop enamel corrosion. But the best thing you can do is not brush your teeth right after drinking coffee.
When drink coffee, or eat, enamel softens and it needs time to harden again. Give it at least 30 minutes. If you brush your teeth before that time, you can damage the enamel.
But you can rinse your teeth with water to wash off coffee’s taste, or eat a piece of cheese after drinking coffee to neutralize the acid.
It is also important to remember that the amount of damage is directly related to the amount of coffee that consume. If you only drink coffee now and then, it won’t be that harmful to your teeth.
Another factor to take into consideration is the ingredients added to coffee. If you drink coffee with sugar, the impact on your teeth will be much worse, because sugar has a direct connection to tooth decay.
But coffee is not all about damaging your teeth. Some research has shown that coffee can actually be beneficial for your dental health.
Coffee has antibacterial properties, and it can kill the bacteria that cause plaque. Another study showed that people who drink four or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to die from oral cancer.
But again, if you combine your coffee with additives like sugar or milk, the coffee loses its antibacterial properties. That is why we recommend you drink black coffee. And do so in moderation.
How Can I Keep My Teeth White While Drinking Coffee?
The stains caused by drinking coffee are not permanent, as long as you have good cleaning habits and take care of your teeth. The stains can also be removed by your dentists during a cleaning.
So make sure to book an appointment with your dentist for a cleaning routine twice a year. And on a daily basis, brushing your teeth with whitening toothpaste can minimize the stains.
A home remedy that helps to lighten stains is brushing your teeth with baking soda. Baking soda has natural whitening properties and also removes plaque. However, it doesn’t protect against cavities.
Baking soda shouldn’t replace your toothpaste but it is a cheap and handy product that is worth trying once a week to avoid getting your teeth stained from drinking coffee.
Which Is Better For Your Teeth, Tea or Coffee?
Dark teas are worse stainers than coffee because of their tannins. But coffee and tea are both acid drinks that will damage your teeth if you drink them in excess.
If you don’t want to give up on any of them, you can drink coffee in the morning and green tea in the afternoon, or vice versa. You can also add milk to your coffee to reduce the staining power.
Why Does Drinking Coffee Hurt My Teeth?
If you experience pain after drinking coffee, you might have a dental problem. Coffee shouldn’t make your teeth hurt. But if you have sensitive teeth, it will worsen the condition, especially if you drink iced coffee.
Coffee is an acidic drink that causes enamel erosion. When the enamel is worn down, there is nothing that protects your teeth, causing sensitivity issues.
If you have issues with sensitive teeth, you should reduce your intake of coffee and other acidic drinks and visit your dentist. He or she will be able to solve this problem, so you can enjoy a warm cup of coffee again.
Coffee Is Bad For Teeth: Final Thoughts
Determining if coffee is truly bad for your teeth is difficult. It depends on many factors, including your personal dental hygiene.
Coffee can stain teeth and cause bad breath. Because it is an acidic drink, it will also erode the enamel, the layer that protects your teeth from the environment.
However, coffee also has antibacterial properties that can be beneficial for the teeth, as long as it is consumed black. But coffee shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for dental cleaning products.
Everything is bad for you in excess, and coffee is no exception. Drinking too much coffee won’t only lead to dental problems, but other general health issues as well. Adding sugar, milk, heavy cream, or substitutes makes coffee even worse.
We are not saying that you should stop drinking coffee, but you should moderate your intake and take proper care of your teeth, to prevent any damage from drinking coffee.