Brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly are the three pillars of dental health most people are familiar with. While all of these are essential, it’s important to recognize that your diet can have a very substantial impact on your teeth as well.
What Does Coffee Do to Your Teeth?
There are two main ways coffee can have a negative impact on dental health:
Disrupting pH Balance of the Mouth
The chemistry concept pH balance stands for “power of hydrogen” and refers to the balance of acidic versus alkaline chemicals within your body. Within the mouth, the natural production of saliva helps maintain optimum pH levels. When pH is balanced, bacterial processes – such as those that lead to tooth decay – are generally slowed down.
Unfortunately, coffee is a strongly acidic substance. This leads to lasting change in the mouth’s pH balance which it resets only gradually as saliva is introduced. Drinking water soon after coffee and chewing sugarless gum are two ways to help the body restore proper pH. These tactics will help mitigate temporary weakening of tooth enamel caused by strong acids, too.
Some people are more sensitive than others to the acids in coffee. They may even experience stomach upset as a result. Calcium-rich products such as milk can help neutralize these acids.
Staining of the Teeth
When it comes to permanent staining of teeth, dark beverages are some of the biggest culprits. These include coffee, tea, wine, and many sodas. Staining takes place as dark-colored elements sink deep into the porous enamel of the teeth. Though teeth are very strong and appear solid, the microscopic composition of enamel includes multiple tiny holes.
Tips and Tricks for Reducing Coffee Stains on Teeth
Eat High-Fiber Foods, Especially Fruit
Fiber is a natural cleansing agent for teeth and has the added effect of promoting peak gastrointestinal health. Eating fruits such as strawberries with or soon after your coffee is one of the most potent ways to offset staining risk.
Using a straw is a great way to safeguard your teeth. When you use a straw, the liquid bypasses your teeth entirely – so you never have to worry about staining.
Brush Teeth Soon After Drinking Coffee
When it comes to pesky “deep down” stains, prevention is the most effective approach. When possible, you should brush your teeth within about 30 minutes after drinking coffee. This ensures most chemicals that could stain teeth don’t linger on their surface long enough to cause problems.
The deep stains caused by coffee can be tough to manage. Central Avenue Dental can help you prevent stains and even reduce those you may already have. Contact us today to book an appointment.