Coffee can be your ultimate pick-me-upper and it can give you the energy you need on a slow and dull day. But should you cut down your coffee because it can stain your teeth? Is coffee bad for your teeth as some people say?
The fact is, coffee can stain your teeth and make them appear yellowish. However, this is more of a cosmetic issue than health. But if you are wondering if coffee is bad for your teeth, the answer is both a YES and a NO.
Should you lessen your coffee intake now to save your pearly whites? Read to find out.
Coffee and teeth stains
Coffee with its invigorating aroma and rich black color contains molecules known as tannins. Tannins are polyphenol, common micronutrients often found in plant-based food. These are also found in other beverages such as wine, soda, black tea, and soy sauce.
Tannins produce a color that stains the teeth and can leave yellowish color that is just so hard to remove. Sometimes when the stain is too heavy, bleaching and other whitening procedures are made just to remove the stains from the teeth.
But there are also simple yet healthy habits you can practice daily to lessen if not totally prevent coffee from staining your teeth. These are the following:
Brush your teeth after drinking coffee
Make it a habit to brush your teeth after drinking coffee. Having this routine will help eliminate the stain that the coffee can cause. When you are going out, make sure you have a toothbrush and a whitening toothpaste with you so you can still brush on the go.
Make use of a straw
Straw can help you minimize the contact of coffee on your need. When sipping the coffee, it goes directly to your mouth and your teeth won’t be exposed as much as possible.
Rinse with water
Another habit you can incorporate into your routine is to rinse with water after having your coffee if you can’t brush immediately. Water can work wonders too and can lessen the effect of tannins on your teeth.
Use a good toothbrush
Switching to a new toothbrush is a good idea when you feel that it is becoming difficult for you to get rid of the yellow stains. Electric toothbrushes for one, have more force and strokes so it is more effective than the regular ones.
Get regular cleaning
It is advisable to have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. This will not only make your teeth visibly healthy but the dentist can also help you identify if there are underlying issues like cavities or breaking of enamels.
Other things you should look out for
With proper management, teeth stain caused by coffee can be managed. If you can’t let the drink go or lessen your intake, taking the necessary steps to make sure your teeth don’t turn into a yellowish color you can’t manage anymore is needed. But aside from staining, there are also other things that you should look out for when drinking coffee.
It can break down enamel
Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth and it is the one that protects the teeth from bacteria, keeping them healthy. With the coffee being high in acid, it can break down the enamel, causing gum sensitivity.
If you drink coffee multiple times a day, and enamel strengthening toothpaste might be a good choice.
It can cause cavities
With the breaking down of enamel, the teeth also become vulnerable to cavities and bacteria. This is one of the reasons why heavy coffee drinkers sometimes have sensitive teeth and bad breath.
The good news
Yes, coffee can cause staining and other teeth issues but it is not entirely bad for the teeth and your general health. As a matter of fact, it also provides other health benefits.
According to the studies stated in Web MD, drinking a few cups of coffee a day can help slow down the spread of colon cancer in the body.
Other studies show that it can lessen the risk of many different types of cancer. In an article published in medicinenet.com, In 2012, the American Cancer Society states that coffee lovers who drank four or more cups of coffee a day were 49% less likely to die from oral cancer meaning, coffee can still be healthy for teeth and gums. This effect, according to studies, is caused by the polyphenols in coffee which have antibacterial properties.
While these health benefits are not 100% proven, it is safe to say that the harm that coffee brings is totally not extreme. If you are having just a few cups a day, it is still generally ok. Teeth stains can be managed, you just have to strictly follow a good oral habit.
However, there are also other things that you should watch out for when drinking coffee. If you are having coffee with milk and sugar, it is important to monitor your intake. Too much of these, of course, is bad for the health.
Also, according to research, a coffee combined with additives like milk, cream, sugar, and other sweeteners can lessen the effect of polyphenols in killing bacteria. Dentists also suggest drinking your coffee pure black.
If a warm cup of coffee can give you the energy you need to start your day, then there’s nothing to worry about. You can still continue to drink your coffee in the morning and even have another cup in the afternoon.
Just knowing how to take care of your teeth properly can make a lot of difference. If you are having problems with cavities, bad breath, and other gum sensitivity issues, cutting back a bit of coffee might help but having a consultation with an expert is necessary to find other possible causes.