Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. In the United States, about half of adults consider a cup of coffee to be a staple in their daily lives. However, despite its prevalence, many people do not realize that coffee could pose a threat to the look and feel of their smiles.
If you pay attention to your oral health, you do not have to give up your favorite beverage to keep your smile healthy. Read on to find three tips from your dentist that can protect your teeth while you continue enjoying coffee.
Beware of Added Sugar and Acidic Substances
Coffee is an acidic substance, though the acidity level can vary in each brew. Acid can damage your teeth, eroding your enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. If this occurs, your weakened smile could face a greater risk of cavities and other dental problems.
Coffee has a naturally bitter flavor. So many coffee drinkers add sugar to their beverages to enhance their taste. While the sweetness can be appealing, sugar can also threaten your dental health.
Sugar reacts with the saliva in your mouth to become acidic, which can contribute to enamel erosion. To prevent this dental damage, avoid added sugar whenever you can, including in your coffee.
If you do drink coffee regularly, try to drink it quickly. Allowing coffee to linger in your mouth can put your teeth in increased danger of dental erosion.
Drink Water Along with Coffee
Your body requires plenty of water to stay healthy and hydrated. When you consume coffee, you may need to drink additional water in order to maintain adequate hydration levels.
Many people appreciate the caffeine boost that comes from a cup of coffee. But caffeine can dehydrate you, which may lead to a decline in saliva production. The resulting dry mouth symptoms can allow natural oral bacteria to spread more quickly and easily. This will increase your risk of gum disease and other infections.
Plus, drinking water after coffee will rinse harmful residues from your teeth. This will enhance your oral hygiene, fight bad breath, and get rid of acidic substances that could otherwise erode your dental structure.
Look Out for Dental Discoloration
Coffee consumption can threaten the appearance of your smile as well as its structure. It gets its dark color from bitter substances called tannins, which can absorb into your tooth enamel when you drink coffee. Then you can see dark stains on your teeth that will not go away with your usual oral hygiene routine.
You can dilute your beverage with milk, sip through a straw, or choose a lighter-colored brew to reduce this risk of dental discoloration. However, these efforts will not eliminate the threat to your tooth color entirely. Keep an eye on the look of your smile to ensure your coffee habits do not affect your tooth color.
If you do form dental stains, talk to your dentist about teeth whitening treatment. Bleaching products used under professional supervision can lift stubborn discoloration to make your smile pearly white again.