Does Coffee Damage Your Teeth?
If you’re like most people throughout the world, coffee is a staple in your diet. Coffee is often glorified for tasting delicious, its ability to perk you up in the morning, and give you more energy throughout the day. There are even a range of studies on coffee’s health benefits, due to its abundance of antioxidants. Unfortunately, when it comes to your dental health, chugging coffee all day can damage your teeth in more ways than one. The good news is that when consumed responsibly, coffee is better for your teeth than most other caffeinated drinks, and it can even improve your gum health.
How Coffee Damages Your Teeth
While consuming moderate amounts (2-4 cups) of coffee a day won’t significantly harm your teeth, excessive coffee consumption can harm the health and beauty of your smile. With that said, if you are an excessive coffee drinker, being aware of these harmful effects might help you cut back on your coffee intake.
Enamel, the outer layer of your teeth, is a porous substance, containing tiny ridges and pits that absorbs colors from food and drinks. Coffee is notorious for staining teeth, due to its dark pigmentation. When coffee is consumed frequently, the dark pigmentation permeates your tooth’s enamel, creating permanent yellowed and stained teeth.
If you are a moderate coffee drinker, who is not committed to abstaining from coffee altogether, there are a number of ways you can limit the amount of staining caused by darkly pigmented drinks. For one, you can try drinking your coffee at specific break times, instead of slowly nursing a cup all day.
Secondly, after finishing a cup of coffee, it is a good idea to immediately rinse your mouth with water or softly brush your teeth to keep it from staining your enamel. Another way to deal with coffee stains is by scheduling routine appointments with our dentist for a professional teeth whitening treatment and making sure you attend regular teeth cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings whiten teeth by polishing away the surface stains caused by coffee, while teeth whitening treatments can bleach your enamel for a more beautiful and brighter smile.
Enamel Damage From Acidity
Enamel is an integral part to keeping your teeth strong and healthy. As we mentioned earlier, enamel is a porous material, making it susceptible to decay. Unfortunately, coffee is highly acidic, which can wear down your enamel. Not to mention, if you like your coffee on the sweeter side with cream and sugar, these sweeteners can further damage your enamel. When consumed constantly throughout the day, this can lead to cavities.
One way to minimize the enamel damage caused by coffee is drinking iced coffee through a straw. Using a straw reduces the amount of contact the coffee has with the surface of your teeth, which can help prevent staining and enamel damage. Rinsing your mouth out with water after consuming coffee can also neutralize the natural acidity of your mouth and protect your teeth from enamel damage.
Jaw Clenching and Bruxism
Excessive intakes of caffeine are linked to increased stress, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. Drinking too much caffeine can cause you to unconsciously clench your jaw, while drinking coffee before bed can cause you to grind your teeth while you sleep. Excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching can lead to jaw pain, TMJ disorder, and pain in your teeth. Grinding your teeth in your sleep can weaken your molars, causing cracks and dulled teeth. Avoid jaw clenching and bruxism from coffee by switching to decaf or limiting the amount of coffee you drink during the day, especially later in the day.
The Benefits of Coffee for Your Gum Health
While drinking too much coffee might be harmful for your teeth, consuming moderate amounts can protect your smile from periodontal disease. In a study of more than 1,000 men over 30 years, scientists found that participants who drank one or more cups of coffee during the day experienced less bone loss and gum recession, most likely attributed to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components in coffee. Contact us today to learn more.