It’s a question dentists get more than you might think: Is coffee really bad for your teeth? The answer isn’t necessarily a “yes” or “no.” Like many things, it has a lot to do with quantity, quality and the ever-elusive pursuit for “moderation.” Don’t give up on your favorite cup of joe just yet. Instead, inform yourself on what steps you should take to enjoy coffee, while also maintaining the health integrity and appearance of your teeth.
How Bad Is Coffee When It Comes to Your Teeth?
The answer to “Is coffee really bad for your teeth?” may vary from person to person. If you’re a person who enjoys having pristine, white and unblemished teeth, the staining that often occurs as a result of drinking coffee may then be considered “bad.” If, however, you are a subscriber to the benefits of antioxidants in preventing several health conditions, coffee may be “very good” and worth a routine professional teeth-whitening procedure from time to time.
Aside from personal preference and subjectivity, what does objective research tell us when it comes to coffee and the health of teeth?
Potentially negative dental side effects of coffee:
- High Acidity
- Since coffee is high in acidity and acid has been proven to cause tooth decay, if unchecked, the acidity from coffee can be harmful to the teeth—typically for individuals who consume three or more cups per day.
- Excess Sugar
- Thanks to the consumerism surrounding coffee, there is an abundant source of sweet coffee beverage options available. Syrups, sugar and even cream produce bacteria that create acid. This creates a double acidity tooth decay threat, considering the existing high acidity content in coffee.
- Bad Breath
- The bacteria and acid that accumulate as a result of coffee beverage consumption not only sticks to the teeth, but also the gums, leading to more than just “coffee breath.” If an individual does not engage in proper oral hygiene or drink plenty of water alongside coffee, it can lead to halitosis (chronic bad breath).
More to the Coffee Story
While research demonstrates some negative impacts of coffee, there are also positive dental health implications when it comes to coffee and your teeth. For example, Men’s Health recently highlighted the health benefits of coffee, referencing a study conducted by Boston University. The article revealed a couple of fascinating outcomes, including:
- Those who consumed one or more cups of coffee a day experienced fewer teeth and bone loss
- There is no evidence that coffee contributes to periodontal disease (bleeding gums, or other associated symptoms)
It’s important to note too, that although the aforementioned “bad” potential side effects of drinking coffee are indeed possible, there are things you can do to decrease the chances of them happening. A few simple routines will allow you to continue enjoying a good cup of joe, including:
- Drinking Water
- Water is a natural bacteria cleanser. Keep a glass or bottle of water by your coffee cup and routinely swish and sip. This will keep bacteria at bay and help counteract the potential for bad breath.
- Oral Hygiene
- Brushing your teeth twice a day using an interdental cleaning device and a tongue scraper will help eliminate bacteria and reduce the opportunity for tooth-decaying acid to take hold.
In addition to the debate on whether coffee is really bad for your teeth, what about the implications of coffee-stained teeth? It’s (literally) easy to see how coffee stains the teeth. While routinely rinsing the mouth with water and practicing good oral hygiene will reduce coffee-staining, it doesn’t completely prevent it from happening. This is where professional teeth whitening comes in.
Teeth Whitening You Can Trust for Coffee Stains and More!
In addition to coffee, there are other foods and drinks that stain the teeth. At Hospital Dental Group, Dr. Anatoliy Ravin offers patients both in-office teeth whitening, plus trays and strips that can be used at home to help brighten and whiten the teeth. Dr. Ravin will work with you to find the perfect balance that will allow you to enjoy one of the world’s most beloved beverages, all while maintaining the integrity, health and beauty of your smile.
If you’d like to learn more about the effects coffee has on your teeth or would like to schedule a visit with us, contact us anytime at 860-524-5194.