Coffee. Most of us live and die by the bean. But what is it doing to our oral health?
- The Problem: Coffee causes yellow teeth and this is, without a doubt, the most common concern among coffee drinkers. Although the outer layer of a tooth feels smooth, when magnified they are filled with an array of pits and crevasses. These pits will trap many types of molecules, including colour-inducing phenols. Phenols are molecules in coffee which give it its dark colour. A common misconception is that adding cream or milk to your coffee will cause fewer stains, however, this is not true!
- The Solution: Here are a few tips to help with coffee stains.
- Avoid the amount of time coffee is in contact with your teeth. Drink through a straw and make sure you aren’t sipping your cup over several hours
- After drinking coffee, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash
- Use an electric toothbrush to brush your teeth 30 minutes after drinking coffee (be sure to wait 30 minutes and rinse prior to, more on this later)
- Be regular with your dental appointments and talk to your local North Vancouver dentist about whitening options. Here at Peak Dental Arts, we offer ‘do-it-yourself’ custom home kits and in-office (zoom) whitening procedures
2. DRY MOUTH
- The Problem: Any type of caffeine, whether it’s from coffee or an energy drink, will cause dry mouth (xerostomia). A lack of saliva in the mouth will cause an increase in your susceptibility to cavities and bad breath (halitosis).
- The Solution: Here’s what you can do about dry mouth:
- Drink more water! Staying hydrated is not only crucial for oral health but also for overall well-being. It’s recommended that men consume 4L a day and women 3L. Add that to your coffee consumption and that’s a lot of trips to the bathroom!
- Try a moisturizing mouthwash. Biotene is a great product that if used daily will dramatically increase the baseline amount of saliva in your mouth. Don’t expect results right away; keep at it for a week or two!
3. ACID EROSION
- The Problem: Although coffee is not as acidic as drinks like soda or lemonade, it is still worth mentioning. Acidic beverages cause enamel to be temporarily weaker, and it’s important that during this time we do not brush our teeth as they are vulnerable. Acid erosion is accelerated in areas where you’ve already lost enamel (usually near your gums) and have exposed the yellower, inner layer of your tooth
- The Solution: Here are some ways to help with acid erosion.
- Don’t let acidic beverages stay in contact with your teeth for longer than necessary. Again, drinking through a straw will help.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after consuming an acidic beverage before brushing your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water prior to brushing as well.
- Get a sufficient amount of fluoride to help strengthen your enamel. For those of us in Vancouver, that means regular dental visits as our drinking water is not fluoridated.
- The Problem: When drinking coffee with creamer and/or sugar, you’re creating an environment that promotes cavities. The bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities (Streptococcus mutans) feed off these items.
- The Solution: Drink your coffee black! And if you must use a sweetener, use one that’s 0 calories as the bacteria in your mouth can’t process them.