Did you know that March is National Caffeine Awareness Month? While that may not be a well-known fact, it does provide us with an excellent opportunity to discuss how drinking coffee – arguably the favorite of all caffeinated beverages — impacts the health of your teeth and gums.
For most of us here in the US, along with many other countries around the world, waking up in the morning just wouldn’t be the same without a steaming cup of coffee. And while it’s true that there are several health benefits associated to enjoying coffee in moderation, drinking too much of it can negatively affect your oral health. Here’s what you might experience if your coffee drinking becomes excessive:
- Stained teeth – Probably the most obvious result of too much coffee drinking will be how it stains your teeth. That dark coffee color can cause your teeth to turn yellow in a relatively short period of time. A good way to avoid this staining is by limiting your coffee drinking to one time during the day – in the morning, for example. After you’re done, be sure to brush your teeth to remove any leftover stain-causing residue. If you like iced coffee, use a straw to drink it. This will limit the coffee’s contact with your teeth, and limit staining as well.
- Eroded enamel – Coffee is very acidic, and that can wreak havoc on the enamel layer of your teeth. When your enamel is compromised, your teeth will turn yellow and become more brittle. Enamel erosion can also make your teeth more sensitive and increase your risk of developing tooth decay.
- Dry mouth – Drinking coffee – particularly if you sip it throughout the course of your day – can dry out your mouth. This is because too much coffee can reduce the amount of saliva you produce. When that happens, you increase your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
- Bad breath – Over-indulging in coffee can also leave you with an unpleasant case of bad breath.
While there’s no doubt that coffee is a beverage that provides some benefits, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll only benefit from consuming coffee in moderation. If you drink too much of it, especially if you’re sipping it all day long, your oral health will suffer. We recommend restricting your coffee consumption to one time period during the day, and making sure that you brush and floss after enjoying your favorite caffeinated beverage. Your teeth and gums will thank you!