Two thirds of people in the U.S. drink coffee every day. That’s a lot of java! While our team at Surf City Dental enjoys this simple pleasure as well, we also make it a point to remind our patients (and ourselves) that when it comes to oral health, coffee is best sipped in moderation.

While research shows that coffee may be linked to health benefits like decreased risk of cancer, diabetes, and stroke, it can also negatively affect your dental health. The same goes for other caffeinated beverages like soda, tea, and energy drinks.

The good news is, you don’t have to completely cut out your daily dose of coffee to keep your smile beaming. Surf City Dental brewed up some tips to help you keep your teeth healthy while still enjoying your daily cup of joe.

What’s Not So Hot About Coffee?

There’s nothing wrong with drinking coffee in moderation, but it is important to understand how it affects your teeth so you can take steps to prevent damage to them over time. For instance:

  • Tannins found in caffeinated drinks can cause teeth to become yellow and stained.
  • Coffee’s acidic nature erodes enamel, which can lead to plaque, the growth of bacteria, periodontal disease, cavities, tooth sensitivity, and more.
  • Drinking coffee with cream and sugar further adds to the risk of tooth decay.
  • Coffee is also linked to halitosis, or bad breath, due to the acids and sugars it contains.

But don’t toss out the coffee maker just yet. The Surf City Dental team has compiled a few suggestions our patients can practice to minimize the impact of coffee and other caffeinated beverages on dental health.

6 Ways To Protect Your Smile

Being smart about your coffee consumption will help your teeth remain healthy and bright. A few simple tweaks to your daily habits go a long way in fighting the effects of coffee and caffeine on your smile.

1. Limit coffee intake
As long as it’s paired with a comprehensive oral hygiene routine, drinking up to two cups of coffee a day is perfectly acceptable. If you find yourself consistently downing more, however, it might be a good idea to scale back.

2. Drink through a straw
Sipping your cup of joe through a straw helps limit the beverage’s contact with the surface of teeth, and therefore, decreases the amount of staining or yellowing your teeth endure.

3. Don’t drag out consumption
Instead of slowly sipping your java throughout the day, drink one cup in its entirety in the morning, or whenever you typically reach for a liquid pick-me-up. This will prevent bacteria from accumulating in your mouth over the entire day.

4. Clean your teeth after each cup
To reduce the unwanted effects of coffee on your teeth, whenever possible, brush your teeth after you finish a mug. However, ensure you wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to give the acid time to neutralize; otherwise, it can do more harm than good to your enamel.

Sometimes, you can’t brush after every cup of joe. If that’s the case, swish your mouth with water to neutralize the acid. You can also chew on crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery to gently scrub your teeth and remove damaging residue.

5. Use enamel-strengthening toothpaste
Brushing with a toothpaste that fortifies enamel helps prevent cavities, whiten teeth, and stop acid-producing bacteria from sticking to the surface of teeth.

6. Keep your coffee tooth-friendly
Some varieties of coffee are less damaging to your teeth than others. Black coffee, with no added cream and sugar, is the best option to keep your smile healthy and white. Dark roast coffee, cold brews, and those made with espresso beans contain less acid than other varieties as well.

As always, the Surf City Dental team is here to help our patients find the right solutions to keep their smile sparkling. If you’re concerned that your coffee consumption is having a negative impact on your mouth, let’s talk about it at your next dental appointment. We look forward to seeing you in our chair soon!