If you begin your day with a cup of coffee, you aren’t alone. Roughly 150 million Americans drink coffee daily, but consuming the drink frequently (more than five cups a day) can be detrimental to your oral health.
It’s no secret that coffee can stain your teeth, but it also breaks down your enamel. The acidity affects the minerals in the enamel, which helps protect the inner layers of teeth. And since enamel doesn’t have any living cells, it can’t regenerate. However, coffee does have some health benefits, such as lower risk of cancer and a boosted metabolism.
How can something that’s ‘good’ for you also be so bad? Should you give up coffee for good, for the sake of protecting your teeth? Not quite yet. You can still drink coffee as long as you take care of your oral health, and surprisingly…that means holding off on brushing your teeth.
Wait 30 Minutes
Your first instinct after enjoying a freshly brewed cup of joe would be to try and wash it off your teeth immediately. While it makes sense in theory, brushing your teeth right after coffee can actually cause more damage.
Drinks that are high in acidity (wine, coffee, soda) actually weaken your enamel. Therefore, brushing them right after consuming these beverages can actually strip away the enamel and damage the dentin (the tissue underneath). By waiting 30 minutes or more to brush your teeth, you give the enamel a chance to harden again.
Some other tips recommended are to drink water right after you finish your coffee. Supposedly, the water acts as a buffer between the acid in the coffee and your saliva.
Using a straw can also help bypass the coffee from your teeth. Instead of taking a big sip and exposing all of your teeth, a straw can help streamline the coffee away.
And lastly… take good care of your teeth. This should be a no-brainer. Brush them daily, visit a dentist and invest in teeth whitening if the stains bother you.
In short, coffee can still be a pleasant (and for some, necessary) way to start off your day. As long as oral precautions are taken, you can still enjoy for years to come.
Fellow coffee lovers, rejoice!