Many adults find it difficult to get through the day without the aid of coffee. Coffee is a delicious way to wake up in the morning and keep the afternoon fatigue at bay. Coffee is a morning necessity for a large portion of the population, but it has the ability to affect more than just your body’s energy levels. One easily overlooked area that is affected by coffee consumption is your teeth.

Unsightly Stains

The most noticeable effect of coffee on your teeth is the stain that gets left behind. Coffee is a strong, dark substance, so it has a tendency to cling to materials with light pigments. There are several methods to combat teeth stains from coffee. One is to simply reduce the strength of your coffee. A weak cup of coffee won’t stain your teeth as much as a strong cup of coffee will. If you don’t want to sacrifice the strength of your brew, consider carrying around a small water bottle that you can sip from while you’re drinking your coffee. This will help keep the acid from lingering on your teeth until you can brush them.

Enamel Damage

Coffee is naturally acidic. Biologically, this helps protect the coffee beans from parasites before they are harvested. Unfortunately, the same acid that protects the plant could actually be harmful to the health of your teeth. The enamel on the tooth gets weaker the longer it is exposed to the acidic substance. Once the enamel is worn down, it cannot be replaced or replenished. The key is to prevent the erosion before it happens.

One way to combat the acidity in coffee is to drink it cold. The cold temperature significantly reduces the amount of acid in the coffee. Keeping your coffee chilled in the fridge or served over ice won’t completely deplete the drink of all acids, but lowering the amount of acids in the drink will help protect your enamel. Another preventative measure is to adhere to a diligent brushing schedule. Brushing your teeth after drinking coffee will get the acid immediately removed before it can do any damage.

Plaque Elimination

Coffee does have the potential to weaken your enamel, but it can also have the opposite effect. The acidity in coffee is strong enough to permanently destroy your enamel, and that same acidity is also strong enough to combat the bacterium that causes plaque to form on your teeth. Coffee contains a high amount of chemicals called polyphenols, which have been proven to destroy the bacteria in our mouths that create plaque. Keep in mind that these polyphenols can only do their job if the coffee remains free of sugar and creamer, so drinking black coffee is the only way to reap the benefits of this particular substance.

The Verdict

Coffee is neither good nor bad. It has its advantages and disadvantages just like any other substance. Examine the factors discussed in this article to see if they are relevant to your circumstances. See if the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks for you personally and make the necessary accommodations to your lifestyle.