Maintenance

How Coffee Affects Your Teeth

It has been said time and time again that coffee can stain your teeth, but if you are anything like us you won't be able to function without your morning coffee. This leaves many people wondering, if I am going to be drinking it anyway, how does coffee affect my teeth?

According to the US National Coffee Association, 62% of Americans would've had coffee in the last 24 hours, making it the second most popular drink after bottled water. This means that a vast majority of people experience at least some of the side effects of drinking coffee on their teeth and oral health in general.

Ways coffee can affect your teeth

As coffee is such a popular drink, a lot of research has been done on coffee and its effects on your teeth, gums and overall oral health, the most common include:

  • Staining teeth
  • Build-up of bacteria on the teeth, gums and a tongue
  • “Coffee Breath” / Halitosis

Coffee stains on teeth

With so many benefits comes one big downfall, coffee's ability to stain your teeth. This is primarily caused by a plant compound found in many drinks including red wine, tea and coffee called “tannins”. Tannins get their name from an early use of the tannins in tree bark to stain or “tan” leather.

A study into the tannin content of tea and coffee found that green coffee contains approximately 0.7% tannins by weight, by roasting the coffee this increases to 1.8%. Whilst this might now seem like a lot, it is still enough to stain your teeth especially if you drink multiple cups of coffee a day.

Many people think that drinking coffee with milk or cream, because it is lighter in colour, it will cause less staining. Unfortunately, just because you dilute your shot of espresso with milk into a latte or cappuccino, you are still getting the same amount of coffee, and therefore, the same staining impact.

coffee on wood table
Teeth whiening kits are popular for coffee lovers

Coffee and tooth erosion

People often argue that coffee can cause tooth erosion due to how acidic it is. However, a 2012 study found that people who consumed coffee or tea 4 to 5 times a day had no significant erosion difference when compared to those who do not. They even found those who consume their coffee with milk had a significantly less chance of experiencing tooth erosion than those who consumed less than 2 acidic drinks a day.

Bad breath

Whether you drink it or not, you will be familiar with "coffee breath", however coffee is actually not to blame. As we're sure you know, coffee contains caffeine (that’s why most of us drink it after all), but what you probably don’t know is caffeine causes xerostomia (also known as a dry mouth). A dry mouth is the main cause of bad breath from coffee, not the beans themself, as it creates the perfect environment for bacteria which naturally occurs in your mouth to flourish, causing bad breath. Usually, your saliva keeps this bacteria at a balanced level. With the reduced amount of saliva after having caffeine, bacteria cling to areas of your tongue in higher concentrations.

How to protect against the effects of coffee on your teeth

So between stains on your teeth and bad breath, your confidence in your smile is probably a bit shaken after your morning coffee (we’re sorry). The good news is that there are ways to both protect against these side effects and repair any previous stains that have been caused by years of coffee drinking.

How to stop coffee from staining your teeth

To minimise the impact of coffee stains on your teeth there are a few things you can do that will help by minimising the amount of time the coffee is in contact with your teeth such as:

  • Drink your coffee through a reusable straw
  • Drink water after your coffee or between sips to help wash the coffee
  • Rinse your mouth out with either mouthwash or water after you finish your coffee
  • Use a protective toothpaste in the morning to act as a shield for your teeth
  • Avoid other foods and drinks that frequently stain teeth

How to prevent coffee breath

Preventing coffee breath is really quite simple! Because bad breath from coffee is caused by having a dry mouth rather than the coffee itself, you can fix your coffee breath in a few ways:

  • Drink water after your coffee or between sips to help minimise xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Rinse your mouth out with either mouthwash or water after you finish your coffee
  • Brush your teeth after your coffee
  • Enjoy a mint or some minty gum
people who drink parge amounts of coffee often have to floss more than most

How to fix coffee-stained teeth

Whilst prevention will help minimise the coffee stains, it’s not always convenient to use mouthwash or brush your teeth after your morning coffee. Because of this, coffee stains will likely slowly build up on your teeth. Luckily, there are a number of options available to help address already coffee-stained teeth:

If you still must have your daily coffee (or multiple coffees), then we have you covered! Our Coffee Lovers Set is perfect for people who need to remove existing stains from their teeth with our teeth whitening kit, and maintain their new whiter smile with enough gel refills to last 6 more whitening treatments!

How Coffee Affects Your Teeth

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