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Let’s Talk about that Cup of Java

dental Problem with CoffeeLet’s Talk about that Cup of Java
If you are an avid coffee drinker, chances are you cannot imagine starting your day without a steaming, warming, comforting brew. To do so would be to hurt your soul. On the flip side, you have probably received a loud and clear message that continuing your coffee habit is hurting your teeth. Let’s talk about this.

What is the Problem with Coffee?
You know the saying . . . Haters gonna hate. But who could hate coffee? And why? Here are some of the common concerns.

  • Coffee will stain teeth.
  • Coffee will weaken enamel.
  • Coffee causes bad breath.
  • Coffee could instigate or worsen gum disease.

Whew! We’re glad to get that out of the way! Now let’s move on to how you can have your coffee and a healthy smile.

Coffee stains teeth because it contains polyphenols and tannins. There are a few ways to mitigate these factors. One is to drink coffee through a straw. Uh. No, thanks! Another way to protect teeth is to add cream to your coffee. Real cream, not the fake powdered stuff, or even non-dairy creamer. The thing about cream is that it contains casein protein. Tannins really like casein. So much so that they bind to it. When tannins bind to casein, guess what! They can’t settle onto enamel. Also, those little tannins can be washed away and diluted with a few swishes of water before, during, and after a cup of coffee. Finally, get it done! Lingering over a lukewarm cup of coffee may not be as fulfilling as it seems. Enjoy each cup to the fullest, then give your mouth a break for a few hours.

Coffee weakens enamel and can irritate the gums because it is acidic. In fact, coffee-drinkers are encouraged to avoid brushing their teeth after their beverage consumption due to the fact that enamel is more susceptible to damage in the hour after a cup of coffee. Adding cream to coffee also cuts its acidity, as does the water swishing habit. The mouth is able to return to a better pH balance if you drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you drink a lot of coffee.

Want to undo some of the damage caused by a lifetime coffee habit? Contact us in Methuen or Windham for an exam, cleaning, and teeth whitening.