Is Coffee Bad For Your Teeth?

If you drink a lot of coffee, you may feel that your favourite drink gives you a lot of benefits. For example, you may simply like the taste or you may enjoy getting a regular caffeine boost during the day. While coffee may have its benefits, it also has downsides that may affect your teeth and overall oral health. 

Coffee Stains Your Teeth

Typically, food or drinks that are coloured enough to stain your clothes are coloured enough to stain your teeth. This includes coffee, especially if you have a cup on the go most of the day. The enamel on your teeth, while very strong, is not completely resistant to the substances it encounters. Your teeth can pick up and hold the dark colours of a cup of coffee. Over time, these colours may turn into yellow stains that take the dazzle out of your smile.

Coffee Dries Out Your Mouth

Although coffee may give you a feel-good boost, it also dehydrates you and adds to the acid content in your mouth. Its caffeine content affects the amount of saliva you produce, leaving you with a drier mouth than you should have. If your mouth dries out, it doesn't have enough saliva to deal with the bacteria and acids that may damage your teeth. For example, acids left in the mouth can erode tooth enamel if they aren't dealt with correctly.

Sugar Content May Harm Your Teeth

If you drink sugared coffee, you expose your teeth to unnecessary sugars. This may increase your chances of getting tooth decay. Even if you don't sugar your coffee, your favourite coffee shop product may be more sugary than you think. The syrups and sweeteners in barista specials can contain 13 or more teaspoons of sugar in every cup. Again, this may have a detrimental effect on your teeth.

Coffee Drinking Tips

There are ways to counteract some of the negative effects that coffee may have on your teeth without giving up your favourite brew. For example, getting into the following habits may help:

  • Don't nurse a cup of coffee for hours but drink it quickly. This limits the number of times a day that coffee can damage your oral health.
  • Drink a glass of water after you've had a cup of coffee. This helps shift the liquid off your teeth and gives you a rehydrating boost.
  • If you notice that coffee gives you a dry mouth, chew some sugar-free gum to get your salivary glands working again.
  • Don't add sugar to your coffee and try to keep sugary coffee shop mixes as an occasional treat rather than a regular daily drink.
  • Make sure to brush your teeth well twice a day. A whitening toothpaste may help deal with coffee stains. If these stains build up over time, have your dentist (such as one from clean and polish your teeth to remove them.