Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. More than half of American adults consider a cup of coffee to be a staple in their daily routine. Despite its prevalence, many people do not realize that coffee can harm the look and feel of your smile in multiple ways.
However, if you take precautions, you can maintain good oral health without giving up your favorite beverage. To prevent this dental damage, you should understand the potential risks. Read on to learn about three ways that coffee can negatively impact your smile if you are not careful.
Oral Health Risks from Coffee
Dark Staining on Teeth
Coffee gets its dark color from substances called tannins. Tannins will absorb into the enamel of your teeth over time, leaving yellow discoloration or dark stains on the surface of your teeth. You cannot remove this discoloration with your usual oral hygiene routine.
You can, however, lower your risk of developing these dental stains by sipping coffee through a straw, adding milk to your cup, or choosing a lighter-colored brew. If you notice stains in your smile, ask your dentist about cosmetic solutions like teeth whitening to restore and enhance your tooth color. Take note that you can form more stains after this treatment if you do not pay attention to your smile.
Increased Risk of Cavity Formation
Coffee has a naturally bitter taste on its own, so many coffee drinkers add sugar to their cups to enhance the flavor. Though the sweet taste may be appealing, the sugar can hurt your teeth. Sugar reacts with the bacteria in your mouth to become acidic.
The acid can then erode your tooth enamel, leaving your smile vulnerable to tooth decay. Your dentist can treat cavities, the early stage of decay, with dental fillings. However, you should preserve the natural structure of your smile whenever possible. Therefore, you should avoid added sugar as much as you can, including in your cup of coffee.
Dry Mouth and Periodontal Disease
Many coffee enthusiasts enjoy the jolt of caffeine that comes with drinking a cup of coffee. Though they welcome this boost of energy, caffeine can also dehydrate you. Low hydration levels may lead to a decline in saliva production, leaving you with dry mouth.
This dry condition makes for a prime environment for bacteria to spread with ease across your teeth. This will heighten your risk for oral infections like gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.
If you contract this infection in the gum tissue, you will need dental intervention to get rid of it. Initially causing inflammation in the gums, the bacteria can advance and eat away at the tooth root and jawbone. It can irreversibly damage your smile and may even cause tooth loss.
To prevent these dental dangers, you should stay hydrated and fight dry mouth. You should drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day. You may need more to compensate for caffeine consumption if you drink coffee.