Every time you turn on the news, it seems like there’s a new study saying that drinking coffee poses a potential risk to your health & well-being, or that it has been shown to be beneficial to your health. If you find this frustrating, then you’re not going to be too happy about the facts about coffee and its potential effects on dental health. But never fear, we’ve got the lowdown on how your morning cup (or cups!) of java are affecting your teeth.
The Effects of Coffee on Dental Health
Staining Action — The composition of coffee, like many other dark beverages, has many chemical agents that have the potential to stain and darken your teeth. Oftentimes, these agents will settle themselves in the pits of enamel on the surface of your teeth and can be difficult to remove.
Acidic Quality & Dental Erosion — By no means is coffee the only drink to have a pH level leaning towards acidic. Other drinks that we often associate with healthiness such as orange juice also are acidic. Though coffee doesn’t have the damaging potential of an acid you’d see in a sci-fi movie, it can cause dental erosion to your teeth. If you drink large amounts of coffee, the tannic acid can start to cause low levels of tooth decay from dental erosion. Some dentists suggest swishing a cup of water in your mouth to neutralize acids between cups or after you’re done drinking your cup of joe.
Prevention of Cavities — Now to add to the confusion, coffee can also be preventative to the development of dental caries or cavities. The tannins in coffee have been known to inhibit some of the processes necessary for the survival of the bacteria that causes plaque. In other studies, coffee has been shown to negatively impact the substances that allow harmful bacteria to adhere to the surface of teeth (which is necessary for them to cause tooth decay).
Regardless of the health benefits or risks of drinking coffee, it’s crucially important to practice regular dental hygiene. This includes visiting to your dentist. If it’s time for your biannual check-up, contact the Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment!