Coffee and dessert season is officially here!
Ahh… the holidays. Cold weather, warm cup of ambition, and our favorite cookies can bring sweet happiness. This time of year, we can sip on coffee and nibble on goodies all day long. But, with all the sugary goodness, we need to be mindful of our health. And, is coffee that bad for our teeth?
“I can’t imagine a day without coffee. I can’t imagine!” ~Howard Schultz
For coffee lovers, the thought of going even one day without our beloved caffeinated staple sends us into slight panic mode. While most adults can easily go one or more days without flossing (although we never should!) we can’t imagine not having our daily cup of joe!
Is the acid in coffee bad for my teeth?
While acid erosion is a true concern for the enamel, your daily coffee consumption won’t do any major harm to your teeth. A Mayo Clinic study has shown there are actually many health benefits, including protection against Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and liver disease. Sound too good to be true?
Sugar cancels the health benefits.
Before we get too excited about this wonderful coffee news, if you add sugar, you’re cancelling out the benefits while increasing your risk for cavities and acid erosion. A 16 oz., Grande Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks contains a whopping 38 grams of sugar! One teaspoon contains 4 grams, so a medium-sized holiday latte is like adding over 9 teaspoons of sugar to each cup! This is dessert, not antioxidant, health-friendly black coffee. Bacteria in plaque feed on sugar, which produces acid. Consuming these types of sweet beverages may taste wonderful, but they’re not so wonderful for your teeth.
Dental Tip: Try getting used to plain black coffee by reducing sugar over time. If you routinely add 3 teaspoons of sugar per cup, try decreasing to 2 for one week, then down to 1… before you know it, your taste buds will prefer the unsweetened coffee flavor!
Consistent, proper brushing & flossing is essential!
There’s a lot of research highlighting the positive health benefits of coffee. However, this is only based on plain, black, unsweetened, and in moderation. The best way to protect your teeth is to brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and see your dentist for routine check-ups. Using floss helps to remove those sugar bugs in between the teeth—where they can multiply, causing sore, red gums.
It does stain the teeth and can stick to your tongue, causing bad breath. Some superficial stains can be removed during routine cleanings with your dental hygienist. Brush your tongue daily to remove odor causing bacteria and food debris. Deeper stains can always be lightened with professional whitening treatments. If you’re thinking of brightening up for the holidays, ask us if you’re a candidate for Zoom! It’s one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve your smile.
Dental Tip: Drink plenty of water in between your sips of coffee, tea, or soda during the day! It’s not only better for your teeth, it’s good for your overall health as well!
Enjoy your warm cup of goodness and favorite holiday goodies… just take a few minutes each day for your oral health. And, if it’s been a while since you’ve had a dental check-up, call us so we can catch small issues before they become big ones!
Wishing you the happiest, healthiest holidays… full of smiles!
Dr. Potts is a gentle, caring dentist uses the most advanced materials and procedures available. He practices comfortable, health-centered dentistry, with a strong emphasis on getting to know each patient. In addition technical proficiency, Dr. Potts is a careful listener. He makes sure to understand what you want and will explain beforehand what treatment is best for your individual needs, along with all options available to you.