Ask a California Dentist: Could Your Coffee Be Making Your Teeth Yellow?
There’s no question that Americans love coffee. In fact, the average per capita consumption is ten pounds of coffee beans per person. When you consider that our population is just around 320 million, you’re looking at a total of more than 1.5 tons of coffee. It’s not hard to see why coffee’s so popular: There are coffee shops on just about every corner, diners offer unlimited coffee, and there’s coffee in just about every office.
With so much coffee consumption, it can’t be bad for us – or could it? Some people swear it makes them more alert and more productive. Others say it helps them stay focused. At your California Dental Group we’re not going to debate how it may help, but we do want to look at what it may be doing to your teeth.
Coffee will stain your teeth yellow
First and foremost, let’s get this over with: Drinking coffee will eventually stain them. There is still some question about how much coffee you have to drink, or how long it takes to noticeably discolor your teeth, but there’s one thing that’s definite: A person who regularly drinks coffee will eventually see their teeth begin to yellow over time.
Yellow teeth aren’t the only thing to be concerned about
Most people drink coffee primarily for the caffeine. While it may help you stay awake and alert, it’s not doing your oral health any favors. Caffeine can dry the mouth, which is less than ideal for healthy gums and teeth. There’s even a specific type of bad breath for coffee drinkers, known as coffee breath. Finally, coffee is acidic. Over time, it can break down the enamel on your teeth.
The above all applies to people who drink their coffee black, but about those who add sugar? It’s likely not a surprise that sugar is terrible for your teeth, whether you’re eating it in a candy bar or drinking it in your daily coffee cup. We recommend brushing your teeth after you have a cup of coffee if you’ve added sugar.
It may not be all bad
If the above has scared you, then you’ll like some of the information coming out in the latest studies. They have shown that polyphenols, which are in coffee and are what stains your teeth yellow, may also prevent bacteria from binding to your teeth. This would be a big bonus for your teeth, if true. There’s also the men who’ve recently developed a clear coffee, which could really help keep your teeth in line when you drink coffee.
Should you quit drinking coffee?
Of course, this is a personal choice. At California Dental Group we recommend that if you’re going to keep drinking coffee, you try to stop putting sugar in it. We also suggest that you keep up on your oral health regimen and that if you notice your teeth are yellowing, you give us a call to find out about teeth whitening options.