September 29, 2018
There are very few people in the world who do not like coffee! People who drink coffee live longer and are less likely to have heart disease. While coffee is one of the best ways to wake up in the morning and it actually may have some real health benefits, there are some negative effects that coffee can have on your teeth.
The negative effects of coffee on your teeth is mostly related to two things: acidity and staining. The pH of coffee is in the 4-5 range, so while it is not as bad for your teeth as juice and soda it can still contribute to breakdown of the enamel that accelerates the progress of tooth decay. The ideal pH of the oral environment is >7.4, so this is a concern for any acidic dietary components.
In terms of staining, the more porous and “rough” a surface is the more likely it will stain. Food and drinks with sediment in them are likely to deposit that sediment in any microscopic pits that develop on the tooth surface. Some people have roughness on their teeth from developmental defects or through a hereditary enamel density issue, but the most common cause of roughness on the surface of the teeth is calcified plaque, or “calculus.” Calculus (you may have heard it called tartar) forms when plaque bacteria get too comfortable on the teeth and try to move in for a permanent stay!
So what do we do to prevent this? Although the answer is obvious - clean your teeth! - we all can improve on both our home care and increase frequency of hygiene maintenance visits, particularly if you enjoy a good cup of coffee regularly. By removing the bacteria from your teeth through meticulous brushing and flossing you can prevent them from creating an environment that encourages staining. Some products that can help you improve your home care include the Phillips Sonicare toothbrush and a WaterPik Water Flosser. We can help you find the right products that are going to work for you - some people need different products to achieve the same results!
If you have already developed staining on your teeth, another way to get you back to your former self is to do some professional in-office whitening. We want all of our patients to have white teeth, so for our long term patients we offer whitening at a significant discount! Please ask about this next time you are in the office.