Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee every day. If you’re a person who looks forward to a cup of joe as soon as they wake up, you might be wondering how coffee and teeth react. Famously, coffee can boost your energy, support your cardiovascular health, and is rich in powerful antioxidants. With so many health benefits, you might be wondering if there could be a downside to regularly drinking coffee.
Duncan, OK, dentist Dr. Matthew Bridges settles the great coffee and teeth debate! He looks forward to answering your questions and concerns regarding coffee and teeth at your next scheduled dental appointment at Chisholm Trail Smile Center.
Coffee is mildly acidic.
Many people wonder if coffee is bad for the teeth. Compared to pure water with a pH of 7, black coffee has a pH of 5. Therefore, acidic coffee can weaken your enamel.
Never fear! You have virtually nothing to worry about as long as you brush your teeth after drinking your morning coffee and consume a balanced diet.
Also, consider swirling in a bit of milk if you’re worried about acidity. Adding milk to your coffee raises the pH of your cup of joe from 5 to 6. Plus, a little milk in your coffee is easy to supplement a little calcium to your diet.
Coffee can stain your teeth.
There’s no sugar coating it: coffee stains your teeth. Coffee contains tannins, micronutrients found in plant-based foods that decompose in water. Tannins cause color compounds to stick to the teeth, leaving bothersome yellow staining. Although this surface-level staining is not necessarily destructive, it can be lifted with whitening treatments.
Black coffee might help prevent tooth decay.
If you love coffee, stick with primarily black coffee. Although coffee is acidic, you might be surprised to discover that one study boasted coffee’s antibacterial and anticaries properties. Furthermore, researchers concluded that it could help prevent the development of dental caries, and subjects who drank black coffee had significantly less decayed, missing, and filled teeth, measured as a 2.9 DMFS (decayed, missing, and filled score).
Black coffee is healthier than coffee with milk and sweeteners.
In the same study, researchers found out that people that drink coffee with milk but no sugar had an average DMFS of 3.4. Comparatively, patients who drank coffee with sugar and creaming agents had a DMFS of 5.5.
Based on this study, we can assume that additives in coffee minimalize the positive effects. However, it’s better to have coffee with milk than with cream and sugar.
This study supports the well-known fact that beverages loaded with sugar (for example, fancy, sweetened coffee drinks) are much worse for your oral health than sugar-free drinks. Furthermore, sweetened coffee drinks combine the natural acidic trait of coffee with multiple spoonfuls of sugar. This fosters a breeding ground for the oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
Reverse Coffee Stains Right Now
In summary, coffee and teeth can have a healthy relationship as long as you brush your teeth after a cup of coffee and primarily stick to black coffee.
Are you a coffee lover with surface-level staining? If so, don’t panic! Dr. Bridges may be able to remove some of the extrinsic yellowing at your next preventive teeth cleaning and checkup appointment. Additionally, Dr. Bridges offers professional in-office and take-home whitening treatments for more dramatic results. Find out about your teeth whitening options by calling 580-255-4880 or messaging us online.