Coffee – Good or Bad for Your Teeth?
When you ask the question, is coffee good or bad for your teeth, the answer is both. The good is that moderate amounts of coffee may protect against gum disease, and other health issues. The bad is that it stains teeth and speeds up the growth of discoloring bacteria when combined with cream and sugar.
What’s Bad About Coffee?
Coffee contains tannins, a naturally occurring polyphenol found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. Tannins break down in water and cause color compounds to more readily stick to your teeth. When they stick, they can leave an unwanted yellow hue behind. Coffee helps bacteria in the mouth create acids which erode tooth enamel
If you are sensitive to caffeine, you could develop temporary insomnia, nervousness, irritability and stomach issues. The effects of caffeine can stay with you for up to 18 hours after ingestion contributing to insomnia. Lack of restful sleep affects all areas of the body including oral health.
What’s Good About Coffee?
The body absorbs more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits or vegetables. Antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals that cause inflammation and contribute to the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Studies suggest that moderate coffee consumption can help protect against cancer, help ward off stroke, depression, and cognitive decline as well as other diseases. Coffee contains polyphenols that keep teeth strong and healthy.
If you just don’t function as well without your morning cup of coffee, there are some things you can do to diminish the potential harm to your teeth. Limit your coffee consumption to one cup in the morning and drink if black if you can. If you must have milk and sweetener, use as little milk as palatable and use Stevia for sweetener.
Brushing and flossing after drinking coffee or other staining liquids will help reduce staining. Eating crunchy vegetables like carrots or celery and fruits like apples with help remove the stains also. Using a straw to drink your coffee bypasses the teeth to prevent staining.