Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. More than half of American adults consider this drink to be a staple in their daily routine. However, many people remain unaware of the negative effects coffee can have on their oral health.
If you take precautions and pay attention to your smile, you can preserve the look and structure of your smile without giving up your favorite beverage. Read on to learn about ways that coffee can hurt your smile and how you can work to prevent these types of dental damage.
How Does Coffee Impact My Oral Health?
Staining Your Teeth
Coffee gets its dark color from substances called tannins. Tannins can absorb into your tooth enamel over time, leaving dark stains on the surface of your teeth. These cannot be removed with your typical oral hygiene regimen.
Though you may sip coffee through a straw and add milk to your beverage, this will only lower the risk of tooth discoloration from your coffee. It will not eliminate the chances entirely.
You should consume coffee in moderation and pay attention to its effect on your tooth color. If you do notice stains or yellowing in your smile, ask your dentist about professional teeth whitening services that give you a brighter tooth color once again.
Increasing Your Risk of Cavities
On its own, coffee has a bitter flavor. Many coffee drinkers add sugar to their drinks to make them taste sweeter. But sugar notoriously has detrimental effects on your dental health.
Sugar reacts with the natural bacteria in your mouth to become acidic. This can then allow plaque to eat away at the enamel of your teeth, raising your risk of dental problems like cavities.
Cavities are early forms of tooth decay, which will irreversibly damage the structure of your teeth. Your dentist can get rid of cavities and treat your teeth with dental fillings, but the natural structure of your smile will not be restored after this damage. You can avoid this issue by steering clear of added sugar, including in your coffee.
Decreasing Your Saliva Production
A major draw for many coffee enthusiasts is the caffeine boost that comes from drinking a cup of coffee. Though this can increase your energy to help you tackle a busy schedule, caffeine tends to dehydrate you, leading to many medical concerns.
Dehydration can decrease the amount of saliva you produce, which can cause a condition called dry mouth. If your mouth becomes dry, bacteria can more easily travel across your teeth, heightening your risk of oral infections like gum disease.
Gum disease can alter your smile and deteriorate the structure of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. It is the leading cause of tooth loss, which can greatly impact your daily life.
To avoid this damage, you should fend off dry mouth by paying attention to your hydration levels. If you drink coffee, you should drink plenty of water to go with it to stay hydrated.