Many of us can’t imagine our lives without our morning cup of coffee. You wake up, and get your day going with this breakfast staple.
However, coffee can take a toll on your smile over time. The most visible way is by staining your teeth. Additionally, flavorings and sweeteners in coffee can ramp up bacteria and plaque production. Our Saint Louis dentists have some tips for you on how to minimize coffee’s effect on your oral health.
The first thing to do is to try to drink your coffee in one, time-limited sitting, rather than sipping throughout the day. Oral bacteria will stay active feeding on sugars and carbohydrates for about twenty to thirty minutes after you stop eating or drinking (anything other than water). So, by drinking your coffee in a short period of time, rather than continuously, you limit the amount of time that oral bacteria can stay active.
You can also start drinking coffee through a straw in order to minimize dental staining. The straw helps coffee to bypass your dental enamel, so that fewer color deposits are left on the visible tooth surfaces.
It’s also better, health wise, to drink black coffee, rather than coffee beverages with creamer, sugars, and other flavorings. All of these additions promote bacteria growth in the patient’s smile, and lead to brittle and thinning dental enamel.
When you finish drinking your daily coffee, try rinsing your smile vigorously with water to clear away acidic and staining substances, and jump-start saliva production. You can also gently brush your smile after rinsing, so as to clear away more coffee remnants and dental debris. You just want to be careful not to brush your teeth too shortly after consuming acidic substances, as your enamel is softer than normal for about 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure.
Sometimes the best thing that we can do for our smile is to take a look at our existing habits and make small tweaks and improvements where necessary. You can improve the health and appearance of your smile by being thoughtful about how and when you consume coffee!