A majority of Americans consider a cup of coffee to be a staple in their daily routines. Despite its prevalence, many people do not realize that this beverage could pose a risk to their oral health over time.
But paying attention to your oral habits and coffee consumption can help you preserve the health of your teeth and gums without giving up your favorite beverage. Read on to discover three ways that coffee can threaten the look and health of your smile if you are not careful.
Can Coffee Hurt My Oral Health?
Beware of Stains on Your Teeth
Coffee gets its dark color from substances called tannins. These can absorb into your teeth’s enamel over time, leaving dark stains on the surface of your teeth. As they penetrate deep into the enamel, you cannot remove these stains with your usual oral hygiene routine.
Some people may add milk to their beverage, sip through a straw, or choose a lighter-colored brew to lower their risk of tooth discoloration when they have coffee. But these efforts will only reduce the chances, not eliminate them.
Dentists suggest limiting the amount of coffee you consume to protect your tooth color. If you do notice yellowing, dullness, or staining on your teeth, ask your dentist about professional whitening options to brighten your smile.
Avoid Added Sugar Dangers
Coffee has a bitter taste naturally, so many coffee fans will add sugar or syrups to their drinks to enhance its flavor. Though the sweetness may taste pleasant, sugar notoriously has harmful effects on your teeth.
Sugar reacts with the natural bacteria in your mouth to become acidic. The acid then erodes your tooth enamel, heightening your risk of cavities and other dental dangers.
Though dentists can treat cavities with dental fillings, ideally, you should preserve your natural dental structure. This is why dentists recommend avoiding added sugar whenever you can, including in your cup of coffee.
Drink Water to Prevent Caffeine Dehydration
One of the major draws of coffee that many enthusiasts appreciate is the boost of caffeine that comes with a cup of joe. Coffee can help people who wake up feeling groggy gain energy to get them through their busy days.
But caffeine can dehydrate you which can lead to health concerns, including for your smile. Dehydration will lower saliva production which may cause dry mouth. A dry environment in the mouth allows bacteria to spread with ease across your teeth.
This will increase your risk for oral infections, including gum disease. Gum disease will start with your gums and then reach your teeth and jaw, causing severe dental damage that could result in tooth loss. You will need treatment from your dentist to get rid of gum disease.
If you drink coffee, make sure you drink plenty of water with it so that you stay hydrated. Dentists and medical experts agree that you should drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. You may require more if you need to compensate for caffeine intake.