Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and millions of Americans count this beverage as a staple in their daily routine. Despite its prevalence, coffee can pose serious threats to the appearance and structure of your smile if you are not careful.
But your dental professional can offer tips to avoid major damage to your teeth and gums without abandoning your favorite beverage. Dr. Ken Schweifler, a dentist practicing in Los Altos, CA, describes three oral health risks you should be aware of when you drink coffee.
Beware of Staining Your Tooth Enamel
Coffee gets its dark color from substances called tannins. Over time, tannins can absorb into the enamel of your teeth and leave stains on their surfaces.
Teeth brushing cannot get rid of deep discoloration like this. However, you can ask your dentist for teeth whitening treatment if you would like to get rid of stains, yellowing, or dullness in your smile.
Adding milk to your beverage, sipping through a straw, or selecting a lighter-colored brew can reduce the risk of tooth discoloration from coffee. It will not eliminate this risk entirely, so you should exercise caution when drinking this beverage to preserve your tooth color.
Avoid Dental Damage from Added Sugar
Coffee tastes bitter on its own, so many coffee enthusiasts add sugar to their drink to enhance its flavor. Sugar is notorious for its negative effect on your dental health. It reacts with the natural bacteria in your mouth to become acidic, and this acid can eat away at tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Though dentists can repair this type of tooth decay with fillings, you should avoid this structural damage to your teeth when you can to lower your risk of dental concerns that could require more extensive restorative treatment. To prevent decay, dentists recommend avoiding added sugar wherever possible, including in your cup of coffee.
Drink Water Too to Prevent Dehydration
Many coffee drinkers enjoy the caffeine boost that comes with a cup of coffee. But this caffeine can dehydrate you if you do not drink water to counteract this effect.
Dehydration reduces your saliva production which can lead to dry mouth. This dry environment allows bacteria to spread more easily across your teeth and heightens your risk of oral infections like gum disease.
Therefore, you should drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day along with your coffee to ensure you remain hydrated. Drinking water can add a boost to your oral hygiene routine too, rinsing lingering residue from your smile between teeth brushing regimens.
Get More Oral Health Tips from Your Los Altos, CA Dentist
Dr. Schweifler offers professional teeth whitening services and other cosmetic dental treatments to patients in Los Altos, CA. Our practice also specializes in general and restorative dentistry, including periodontal care, for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office by phone at 650.489.4620 or reach our staff online.