More than half of adults in the United States consider a cup of coffee to be a staple in their daily routine. Whether hot, iced, or frozen, coffee makes for an enjoyable part of your day. But many people do not realize that coffee could hurt your oral health if you are not careful.
While coffee could threaten your smile in multiple ways, you do not have to give up your favorite drink to keep your mouth healthy. Knowing the potential risks can help you avoid them while still enjoying coffee. Read on to discover three potential oral health issues that can develop when you drink coffee without paying attention to your smile.
Look Out for Dental Discoloration
Coffee is known for its richly dark color, a hue that comes from naturally occurring substances called tannins. As you drink coffee, these tannins can transfer to your teeth and absorb into the enamel. They leave dark stains behind on your teeth that will not go away with your usual teeth-brushing regimen.
You can lower the chances of forming this dental discoloration by sipping coffee through a straw, adding milk to dilute the beverage, or choosing a lighter-colored brew. But these efforts will not eliminate the risk entirely.
So pay attention to any changes in your smile’s appearance as you drink coffee. If you do see stains forming on your teeth, ask your dentist about teeth whitening solutions to brighten your tooth color once again.
Avoid Harmful Added Sugar in Coffee
Coffee has a bitter taste on its own. So many people will add sugar to their beverages to enhance the flavor. While the sweetness may taste lovely, sugar is infamously dangerous for your teeth. When it reacts with saliva, sugar will become acidic.
The resulting acid will linger in your mouth and erode your tooth enamel. This irreversible damage to your smile makes you vulnerable to cavities and other dental concerns.
So you should steer clear of added sugar wherever possible, including in your cup of coffee. Find alternative ways to alter the flavor of this drink that will not hurt your teeth.
Drink Water to Balance Caffeine-Related Dehydration
One of the appeals of enjoying a cup of coffee is the boost of energy that comes from the caffeine it contains. This can help you get through your busy day, but it can also dehydrate you. Low hydration levels will lead to effects like a decline in saliva production, which may leave you with dry mouth.
A dry oral environment will feel sticky and uncomfortable, but it will also put your oral health at risk. Natural oral bacteria will easily spread across your teeth when your mouth lacks moisture, heightening your risk of oral infections, including gum disease.
Gum disease will require intervention from your dentist to treat it, and it can wreak serious havoc on your smile. So eliminate risk factors like dry mouth to prevent contracting gum disease. This means drinking plenty of water along with your coffee to avoid dehydration.