How Your Coffee Habit May Save Your Teeth From Decay and Periodontitis

A steaming cup of coffee surrounded by coffee beans

There’s been a raging debate about the pros and cons of drinking coffee, and coffee drinkers have been keeping a weather-eye on the results. Coffee has for many years been considered to be the bane of clean, healthy teeth, and there’s good reason for that. Its acidic nature, dark colors, and abundance of tannins have made it culpable in many a stained tooth. However, there is mounting evidence that suggests that this cosmetic concern may represent only the surface of the effect coffee can have on your teeth. Surprising to some, not all of the findings have indicated that coffee is the vile enemy of the beautiful white smile it has long been believed to be.

How Coffee’s Acids Aid In The Erosion of Your Enamel

Let’s start with the well-known bad points of coffee as pertains to your dental health. The outer layer of your tooth, enamel, is the hardest substance present in the human body. In spite of its innate durability, it’s quite susceptible to damage under the assault of acids from food and formed by bacteria. Acid serves to soften the enamel itself, making it subject to erosion and damage from other sources. Coffee’s highly acidic nature has made it the natural enemy of enamel which, when softened, also is more likely to become stained.

Upliftingly, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage the acidic and staining nature of coffee can cause.

  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with clear water after drinking coffee to neutralize the acids
  • Alternately, consider eating a piece of cheese after your coffee to do the same
  • Don’t drink coffee within an hour of brushing your teeth

This last one comes as a bit of a surprise to some coffee drinkers. A little-known fact about brushing your teeth is that it actually softens your enamel for a short while after doing so. Coffee itself isn’t actually responsible for tooth decay; the acid it contains merely softens the enamel making it more susceptible to erosion, decay, and damage.

The New Discoveries About Coffee And How It May Benefit Your Teeth

So with all this bad news bandying about concerning coffee, where’s the good news? Research done in Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University in Brazil found some unexpected properties in the world’s favorite breakfast beverage. This study took donated baby teeth and grew layers of bacteria on them that are responsible for the development of plaque. Once a colony had been established, they introduced the extract of the Robusta coffee bean. Almost immediately, there was a notable loss in bacterial population on the teeth, demonstrating powerful antibacterial properties.

It’s not just your teeth that coffee is good for either! A study by the American Cancer Society in 2012 revealed that those who drank in excess of three or four cups of coffee a day had nearly half the chance of contracting and dying from oral cancer than non-coffee drinkers! Want to know more about how you can get the most out of your morning cuppa while maintaining good oral health? Speak to your dental practitioner to learn more.

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Dr. Mark Covington with family

Mark and Gina Covington / Husband Wife Practice
The Drs. Covington are proud members of the Hickory, NC community, where they focus on the well-being of their children and their patient family. Dr. Gina and Dr. Mark both graduated from the University of Mississippi Dental school and are now dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care to their patients.

Dr. Mark Covington with family

Mark and Gina Covington / Husband Wife Practice
The Drs. Covington are proud members of the Hickory, NC community, where they focus on the well-being of their children and their patient family. Dr. Gina and Dr. Mark both graduated from the University of Mississippi Dental school and are now dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care to their patients.

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