Do you enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning to get you going for the day? After all, coffee does contain antioxidants and improves brain function. Studies have touted the benefits of drinking four cups of coffee a day to prevent type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. It may also reduce your risk of dying from chronic liver disease and some cancers. But just that one cup of coffee can stain and damage your teeth!
Acidic Properties of Coffee
Tannin is a natural acidic complex found in coffee. This polyphenol quickly dissolves in water. With each sip of coffee, this acid bathes your teeth and mouth to create the perfect environment to damage tooth enamel. Tannins cause color compounds to stick to your teeth leaving an unwanted yellow tint to them. This discoloration develops slowly.
Because it may start at the back of the teeth, the discolored enamel is often not noticed at first, but over time it becomes more obvious and easily detected by a visual test done by your dental hygienist or dentist. Your exposure to even just a cup of coffee can cause discoloration to the outer layer of your tooth enamel.
Enamel Protects Teeth
Made with hydroxyapatite and other minerals, enamel serves as a protective layer for your teeth. It is also partially responsible for the tooth color. The reflection of light on the surface of the enamel in combination with dentin, the inner tooth structure, produces the color of our teeth. The thick enamel covers over the brownish or deep yellow color of the dentin. When the enamel thins, the dentin becomes more visible exposing yellow teeth.
Even in healthy individuals, the surface of this enamel contains a small amount of microscopic ridges and pits. Coffee, with its acidic tannin color pigments, can get embedded in these tiny places. This causes tooth discoloration with brown or black pits in the enamel. White streaks or yellow tinting may cover the enamel and are difficult to remove.
Dental hygienists or dentists can clean your teeth and remove these tough stains with twice a year appointments. By seeing a dentist regularly, you are preventing further damage to your enamel from coffee and other dental issues, plus you can learn how to properly care for your teeth.
Coffee and Bacteria
Because of its strong scent, coffee creates halitosis or bad breath by sticking to your tongue. Coffee also increases the amount of discoloring bacteria to grow in your mouth in combination with the increased tannic acid. Many people believe that lighter colored coffee with cream reduces the risk of staining your teeth, but studies show that adding cream and sugar to your cup of coffee speeds up the growth of discoloring bacteria and does not stop coffee from staining the teeth. Bacteria leads to enamel erosion and causes the teeth to become thin and brittle exposing the dentin as discussed above. Bacteria increases the risk of tooth decay, cavities and gum disease damaging the inner tooth structure.
Limiting Damage to Your Teeth
Dentists suggest drinking no more than two cups of coffee a day. By drinking your coffee in minutes and not sips over hours, it reduces your mouth's exposure to acid and bacteria lessening the damage to your teeth. Drinking iced coffee through a straw reduces the exposure even more. You can rinse off the residual coffee and dilute the acid from your teeth by drinking a full glass of water immediately following your cup of coffee.
Your can drink your coffee with a meal or high fiber healthy snack. Raw fruits and vegetables like strawberries and carrots have natural fibers that can clean your teeth by breaking down bacteria. The act of chewing produces saliva and neutralizes food acid to protect your.
Visiting your Dentist
Brushing and flossing your teeth thirty minutes after the acids have stabilized in your mouth will also ward off damage to your teeth. Brushing sooner could cause damage to the enamel. Dentist instruct patients to use electric toothbrushes since they are more effective than manual brushes. Do not forget to clean your tongue with the toothbrush.
Dentist encourage the use of a mouthwash to help reduce the number of bacteria, the risk of plaque and gingivitis in your mouth. If these efforts fail, a dentist can help you get whiter teeth again. The cost of dental care varies from clinic to clinic with no set charge for treatment. Insurance companies work with many dental clinics and may offer insurance plan packages for scale and polish treatments.
It is important to do your research and ask for recommendations on credible insurance plans. You could simply search online and you might come across a badge stating find out more about our private dental insurance, this could lead you to find out more information about credible dental insurance plans and the types of coverage available for specific dental clinics
Limit Coffee at Night
Studies have shown that having a cup of coffee before bedtime causes you to clench your teeth while you sleep. The caffeine in coffee arouses jaw muscles and your adrenaline leading to teeth grinding and making it worse if you grind your teeth. This can wear away tooth enamel and, in severe cases, cause the teeth to break or chip. It is recommended that you have your last cup of coffee at least four hours before bedtime.
We enjoy our coffee, but we do not want stained and unsightly teeth. As we become more aware of how coffee can damage our teeth, we can make changes to our daily habits to minimize the impact. It is easy to start drinking coffee with food or a healthy fiber snack followed by a full glass of water, limit coffee to two cups a day and do not drink it before bed plus brush and floss your teeth thirty minutes after drinking coffee. Most importantly, you should see your dentist at least twice a year to clean and examine your teeth to help them stay strong and healthy.