I drink a lot of coffee. Could it be hurting my smile?

Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year. In the United States, we consume more than 450 million cups of coffee per year. We know that fifty percent of people drink at least one cup daily.

Here at All Family Dental Care, we know that our patients like to enjoy a cup or two of java throughout the day. What you may not know is that coffee can be especially tough on your teeth. The reason for this is the tannic acid (the substance that makes the dark color) etches into pits and grooves of tooth enamel, staining your teeth and having a detrimental effect on your smile.

Other foods and drinks such as soft drinks, wine, and chocolate-flavored beverages can all cause tooth enamel discolorations. However, due to the extreme temperature change that occurs when the hot coffee comes into contact with your cooler teeth, your teeth expand and contract which allow stains to penetrate deep into micro-cracks of your tooth enamel.

Other potential risks associated with coffee are bad breath, dry mouth and tooth decay. Coffee is considered a diuretic, meaning it causes the body to lose fluids. So drinking coffee or any caffeinated beverage slows the production of saliva leading to these problems.

We know that some of you won’t make it through your day without a cup of Joe, so we put together these helpful tips to help make sure your teeth stay in the best possible shape.
· Drink a glass of water or rinse your mouth with a glass of water after every cup. This will help neutralize and rinse away the acid left behind while also replenishing fluids drawn out of your body by the caffeine.
· Chewing gum after you drink coffee will help keep your saliva production up and prevent dry mouth.
· Drinking from a straw ensures that the coffee doesn’t make contact with your upper and lower front teeth, keep them free from tannin.

There is no substitute for a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing regularly is the best way to prevent stains and buildup. Schedule and keep your dental appointments for professional cleanings and discuss professional whitening services with your dentist to help maintain those pearly whites.

If you have any questions about the effects coffee or other food and beverages have on your teeth, please call us at (425) 337-1000.

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