For many people, a “cup of Joe” in the morning is a necessity in order to start the day off right, as well as ensuring they don’t fall asleep on the morning commute. However, coffee and white teeth don’t always mix well, and finding out why and what you can do are good steps in promoting your dental health.
Coffee’s Effects on Teeth
Primarily, the main concern coffee drinkers should watch out for is a cosmetic one–the staining or yellowing of your teeth. Due to the porous nature of the enamel of your teeth, it is easy for coffee to quickly penetrate and stain your teeth. Likewise, coffee has an acidic content, meaning that it (lightly) wears away at the enamel in your teeth and can aid in the process of tooth decay. Likewise, some experts, such as the Australian Dental Association, propose that coffee’s propensity to causing dry mouth in its drinkers inhibits the production of saliva—a critical defense of your mouth to wash away the nutrients that feed plaque.
What Can I Do?: Tips for Drinking Coffee & Your Dental Health
Limit Your Intake — For the hardcore caffeine aficionado this solution isn’t always the easiest, but limiting your intake directly cuts down on the exposure of the substance to your teeth, deterring any of its negative effects.
Alter How You Drink Your Coffee — The way we drink coffee has a large impact on how it affects us. As strange as it sounds, drinking your coffee through a straw limits the amount of time the drink is in contact with your teeth, because the majority is deposited toward the back of the mouth. Additionally, by avoiding sipping on your coffee for several hours and instead drinking it relatively quickly you can avoid prolonged exposure of the drink to your teeth.
Brush or Rinse Afterward — If you brush or rinse your teeth after a cup of coffee you are more likely to remove the staining agents before they can have an effect on your teeth.
Consider Whitening Treatments — If it’s too late for you, talk to your dentist about treatment to bleach your teeth. Though this won’t solve the non-cosmetic problems, you will counteract the staining quality of the drink.