How coffee affects your teeth, your breath and your oral health
October 12, 2020
The dreaded “coffee breath” is a nasty by-product of the world’s most popular drink. But actually, coffee’s impact on our overall oral health is far more destructive than just bad breath. Why exactly is coffee – a key part of the morning routine of millions – bad for our teeth and gums, and how can we protect our oral health while continuing to drink it? Read on to find out…
How coffee damages your oral health
A coffee side-effect that we are all aware of is teeth staining. Coffee will over time cause your enamel to stain because it is high in tannins. Best known as a key ingredient of red wine, tannins are a type of polyphenol – a naturally occurring product.
Unfortunately for your teeth, these tannins can build up on the enamel very easily, eventually leading to a yellow discolouration that red wine and even tea drinkers are also familiar with.
We may not think of coffee as acidic, but it has a pH of around 5 which is significantly lower than our mouth’s neutral pH of 7. Acidic foods and drinks help grow the bacteria that demineralise and erode our teeth’s enamel.
If left unchecked, this can further degrade our teeth as enamel can’t repair itself in the same way other parts of the body can. The consequences of this can be serious – for instance more fragile teeth and long-lasting sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
And then of course there’s “coffee breath”. There are several reasons drinking coffee gives us bad breath. The simplest of these is just that coffee has a very strong odour.
But coffee also has an extreme drying effect on our mouths (you can thank caffeine and even our friends the tannins for that). A lack of saliva opens the door for more bacteria to begin growing – especially on the tongue and in the throat – which is a common cause of halitosis.
How to drink coffee and maintain a healthy mouth
For many of us, coffee is closely tied to our sense of routine, not to mention our social interactions. You’d certainly have a hard time trying to persuade us to give it up! With that said, there are definitely a number of ways you can continue to enjoy coffee with an eye on your oral health:
Moderation is key. Reducing your intake will lessen coffee’s impact on your teeth and gums, although for many of us this is impractical.
Drink alongside food. Consuming coffee with a meal is a good way to cut down on bacteria forming in the mouth. However, this could be tough to fit into your current morning routine.
Stop using sweeteners. Black coffee is best for your mouth. Sugar is obviously a major cause of tooth decay, so cutting down our intake from coffee or any other source is always important.
Try drinking through a straw. You might get a few odd looks, but it can be a great way to protect your oral health by reducing the contact the drink has with your teeth. Just make sure you’re helping the planet with a reusable or recyclable straw!
Brush your teeth after your morning cup. Brushing 30 minutes or so after your first coffee of the day will limit the damage we spoke about earlier. And there’s no better morning toothpaste than Dawn – part of Floe’s subscription box (more on this later).
Drink a glass of water after each coffee. A glass of water immediately after coffee can help cleanse your mouth of harmful bacteria and stop tannins sticking to your teeth.
Boost your oral care routine
While cutting down on your intake or saying goodbye to sweeteners might be a no-go, we can still protect our mouths without making any compromises on coffee. Brushing twice daily, changing our brush every 3 months and flossing regularly are things we should all be doing to counter the damage coffee can do to our mouth – but most of us still aren’t.
Routine is the foundation of any positive change. By providing the quality tools you need for a healthier mouth, Floe will make sure you see the benefits of small improvements to your oral health, that will go on to snowball into long-lasting and noticeable change.
Every 3 months , we’ll send you:
A new Curaprox toothbrush – so you don’t have to remember to replace it.
Dawn whitening and Dusk anti-cavity fluoride toothpastes.
Activated charcoal floss – to clear plaque where the brush can’t reach.
Coffee may be bad for our mouths, but we can all counteract this by boosting our oral care routine!
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