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 societal prevalence, many people do not realize that coffee can negatively impact your oral health if you are not careful.
But you do not have to give up your favorite beverage in order to keep your teeth and gums looking and feeling their best. Read on to find three tips to keep your smile healthy while you drink coffee.
How to Protect Your Smile When Drinking Coffee
Beware of Staining Your Teeth
The dark color of coffee comes from natural substances called tannins. Tannins can absorb into the tooth enamel over time, leaving dark stains on the surface of your teeth. You cannot remove this discoloration with your usual oral hygiene efforts.
Sipping through a straw, choosing a lighter-colored brew, and adding milk to your drink can reduce the chances of developing these stains. But you will not eliminate the risk entirely.
To protect your tooth color, dentists recommend limiting the amount of coffee you drink. Paying attention to your tooth color can help you avoid developing deep stains too. If you notice yellowing, staining, or other discoloration in your smile, talk to your dentist about teeth whitening options.
Avoid Added Sugar in Your Drink
Coffee has a naturally bitter taste, so many coffee drinkers will add sugar to their cups to enhance the flavor. The sweetened taste might be pleasant, but sugar notoriously hurts your teeth.
Sugar becomes acidic when it reacts with saliva. The acid then eats away at your tooth enamel, heightening your risk of forming cavities. You can protect your dental structure by avoiding adding sugar wherever possible, including in your coffee. Try other ways to enhance the flavor of your coffee if you do not enjoy it on its own.
Drink Water Along with Coffee
Many people enjoy the caffeine boost that comes with drinking a cup of coffee. They may even count on this burst of energy to get them through their busy days. But caffeine can dehydrate you, leaving you at risk of medical concerns, including in your smile.
Your body may decrease saliva production in the wake of dehydration, leaving you with a dry mouth. This condition is not only unpleasant but also creates an environment where bacteria can spread across your teeth with ease.
This will make you vulnerable to oral infections like gum disease. Untreated gum disease can progress and cause irreversible dental damage, including tooth loss. You will require treatment from a dentist to get rid of this infection, so dentists recommend preventative care when it comes to gum health.
You can stave off the dehydration risks from coffee by drinking plenty of water too. Dentists and other health experts agree you should drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day. You may need to drink more to counteract the effects of caffeine when you consume coffee.