What’s the Scoop on Coffee?

The Scoop on Coffee and Preventive DentistryWould your morning not be complete without a piping hot cup of coffee? Maybe you feel like a flavored latte is the only reason you get out of bed some mornings, or you count down the minutes until your coffee break, at work? If you are seriously hooked on coffee, as a way of facing your daily grind, it can be important to understand the role it could be playing in your dental health. Like many things that are fine in moderation, coffee, if drunk frequently, could actually be bad news for your smile. So before you start 2017, make sure you understand what a daily cup of Joe, or second and third cups of coffee, could be doing to your smile.

Beware Acidic Drinks

Like any acidic drink, coffee can lead to staining and eventually acidic erosion of the teeth’s enamel. Because coffee contains caffeine, it can also be drying, which can contribute to dental problems as well.

Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can help minimize the risk of erosion, caused by coffee.

  • Drink only one cup of coffee, and follow it with water. Water helps gently rinse the teeth clean between brushings. It also helps keep your smile properly hydrated.
  • That said, you could also brush your teeth after your cup of coffee, or chew on a sugar-free gum to help reduce staining and potential erosion.
  • When drinking iced coffee, a straw can help minimize staining, though this is not recommended for hot coffee.
  • Keep in mind that coffee itself is less problematic for the teeth, than coffee combined with large amounts of sugar or cream (with sugar). So limit your sweeteners, including flavored syrups, when you do indulge in a caffeinated beverage.

Most Things Are Fine in Moderation

Coffee, like most things, is fine in moderation, but becomes more problematic the more frequently you drink it. It can be particularly damaging to the teeth’s enamel to sip on a single cup or several cups of coffee, slowly, throughout the day. From a dental standpoint, it is better to drink it relatively quickly, and then to follow with water.