For coffee lovers, the thought of going even one day without our beloved caffeinated staple sends us into slight panic mode. Most of us can easily go one or more days without flossing (although we never should!), but we can’t seem to go without our morning cup of coffee. Although acid erosion is a true concern for the enamel, your daily cup(s) won’t do any major harm to your teeth.
Coffee contains antioxidants.
Research has shown there are many health benefits associated with your daily cup of ambition. Protection against Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 Diabetes, liver disease, and even skin cancer have been noted. One study concluded it may even protect against cavities. While we wouldn’t say it’s a health beverage, it certainly has many positive effects. Especially that much needed energy boost in the morning!
Tea, particularly green tea, has received widespread media coverage for studies revealing its health benefits, but Professor Alan Crosier from the University of Glasgow says that the new findings show that coffee can also be considered a valuable source of antioxidants, supplementing those obtained from fruit and vegetables. ~Journal of Conservative Dentistry
Java enthusiasts would love to only focus on the positive health advantages. However, if you add sugar and cream, you’re cancelling out the benefits. For example, a 16 oz. Grande White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks contains 12 grams of saturated fat and a whopping 53 grams of sugar! This is dessert, not antioxidant friendly black coffee. Oral health is directly related to your overall health, so be mindful of how much sugar you’re using.
Tip: Try plain, cold brew this summer. It’s known for having less acid and is easier on the stomach. Plus, it’s easier to drink without any sweetener if you’re not used to plain black just yet.
Bacteria in the plaque feed on sugar, which produces acid. Consuming these types of sweet beverages without consistent, good dental hygiene, is a recipe for enamel erosion from acid and cavities.
Excellent home care is essential for coffee drinkers.
With all of the research highlighting the positive health effects, the best way to protect your teeth is to brush and floss twice daily—and see your dentist regularly. Using a mild, fluoride toothpaste, like ProNamel, is recommended for those with acidic diets. Coffee and tea are also known for staining teeth, and can stick to your tongue. Bad breath is a common side effect of coffee, so be sure to brush your shag carpet of a tongue every day as well.
Dental Tip: Make sure to drink plenty of water in between your cups of coffee, especially if you use any sugar in your beverages.
Most superficial coffee stains can be removed during routine cleanings with your dental hygienist. Deeper stains may set in, requiring professional whitening treatments to lift them. In conclusion, enjoy your precious coffee, but try to go sugar-free. Black coffee may have some health benefits, but only in moderation, and with proper oral hygiene.
Dr. Coleman is a leading cosmetic dentist in the United States, as well as an international lecturer in dental techniques and technology. With a great sense of humor and a sense of compassion for others, Dr. Coleman takes pride in improving the lives and smiles of his patients.