You’ve seen the memes, you’ve likely heard the one-liners. For many people, coffee is an important – even vital – part of waking up and starting the day, thanks to that warm jolt of caffeine. In fact, here in the United States, an estimated 64 percent of the population drinks at least one cup of joe a day, and, according to the National Coffee Association, that number is growing.
But despite its many virtues, coffee isn’t all good. First of all, it can stain the teeth, especially the more acidic coffee varieties. And don’t even get us started on coffee breath. But does that mean coffee is bad for us, or more specifically our mouths? Here’s what you should know about coffee and your oral health.
Coffee Has Many Health Benefits
Coffee contains antioxidants call polyphenols, which are essentially compounds that contain multiple phenolic hydroxy groups. In addition to reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer, these polyphenols also reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can trigger everything from stroke, cancer, high blood pressure and that oral health nemesis, periodontal disease. Polyphenols also fight plaque in your mouth, helping to keep your teeth clean and free of cavities
Yes, It Stains, But …
Yes, coffee can negatively affect your breath and stain your teeth – if you aren’t careful. But thankfully, there are ways to enjoy your java without letting on that you did. The next time you empty your cup, before reaching for a refill, drink a glass of water. This will help rinse your mouth and keep residual acid off your teeth. This will not only reduce stains, but also keep your enamel harder and your breath fresher.
Due to the acidic nature of coffee, we recommend you wait at least 30 minutes after drinking coffee (or any acidic beverage) to brush your teeth. This will give your tooth enamel a chance to re-harden and keep your teeth healthy and strong. Bad breath? Pop a sugar-free mint until it’s time to brush.
So, go ahead and indulge in that cup (or several cups!) of coffee – but follow these tips to help get the maximum benefits with the minimum side effects.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Abelar, please call (858) 866-9692.