Is Coffee Bad for My Teeth?

For many people, coffee is an essential part of every morning. Coffee provides caffeine to get your morning going and to sustain your focus throughout the day. It is a brilliant drink for waking up and for meeting with a group of friends. However, while coffee is a lovely, warm beverage, it comes with strings attached. This means that coffee is great, but drinking it has some side effects on your oral health.

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Increased Risk of Cavities

While coffee itself doesn’t increase your risk of cavities, the compounds in coffee damage your enamel. You may notice stains or sensitivity if you drink a lot of coffee over a long period. This is because coffee erodes the enamel. Enamel is the whitish outer layer of your teeth that provides protection against bacteria and other harmful substances. When damaged, the enamel cannot prevent bacteria from invading your teeth. 

Coffee erodes your enamel because it is highly acidic. The acid eats away at your enamel, making it thinner and thinner. Eventually, your enamel is damaged beyond natural repair, so you develop cavities. Cavities are small pits of decay that form outside your teeth. Once you create a cavity, you must visit your dentist for a dental filling.

Sensitive Teeth

Drinking more coffee is associated with sensitive teeth. When you have sensitive teeth, it means that you feel a sharp pain or discomfort when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. This happens when your enamel becomes thin or if you have tooth decay. Since coffee erodes the enamel, it also causes your teeth to become sensitive. 

One way you can avoid this is to minimize your consumption of coffee. If drinking less coffee is not a possible solution, you could switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Additionally, you could drink your coffee with a straw to avoid the acid touching your teeth.  

Stain Teeth

Another problem with coffee is that it can stain your teeth. You may notice that after drinking coffee for a longer period, your teeth can begin to yellow. While coffee is a dark-colored beverage, its staining qualities have more to do with its chemicals. 

In the chemical makeup of coffee, there are molecules called tannins. If you are familiar with wine, you may recognize tannins. They are what gives wine a dry or bitter taste. With coffee, tannins create an earthy or bitter bite. In addition, tannins cause colors to bind with your teeth. Unfortunately, this causes your teeth to turn yellow. 

Teeth discoloration is not ideal nor desirable. There are many different ways that you can whiten your teeth, including at-home or professional whitening treatments. If you are concerned about the color of your teeth, you should talk to your dentist to see what they recommend. They are likely to suggest gentle whitening toothpaste or whitening strips if you prefer at-home treatments.