There’s no need to ditch your morning coffee, but how you drink it could affect the health of those pearly whites.
By Barrett White
A short, snappy video recently went viral on TikTok, where a dentist describes how sipping on your coffee throughout the morning can be bad for your teeth. The dentist in the video, who uses TikTok as “Dr. M,” shares that exposing your teeth to coffee for over 30 minutes every morning can add up, and that over time the result is weakened enamel and damaged teeth.
Is that true? We consulted our experts in Legacy’s own dental department.
“Yes, coffee drinking can be detrimental to our teeth and should be consumed in moderation,” says Dr. Ashley Johnson, Medical Director of Dental Services at Legacy Community Health. “First and foremost, coffee is acidic in nature. Water is neutral and has a pH of 7, coffee is 6.12, red wine is 3.3-3.6 and Coca-Cola is 2.5. Enamel begins to erode at a pH 5.5. When coffee or any acidic beverages are sipped on for a long period of time, or throughout the day like coffee, the teeth are constantly being exposed to acid which can lead to enamel erosion.”
“When the enamel (which is the protective layer of our teeth) becomes so eroded that the next layer (dentin) is exposed, our teeth become sensitive.” Dr. Johnson continues, “Once we lose enamel, this is irreversible damage and we can’t get our enamel back.”
No need to fear though. Dr. Johnson recommends protecting your teeth by drinking your favorite acidic beverage…
- …with a straw. Drinking through a straw minimizes contact with the teeth thus decreases the risk of staining and erosion. It is also recommended to drink acidic beverages quickly and avoid sipping throughout the day.
- …between sips of water. Drink water after or rinse your mouth out with water.
- …an hour before brushing your teeth. Wait one hour before brushing your teeth after consuming acidic beverages, like when drinking wine with dinner. Allow saliva to neutralize acid initially then brush your teeth.
- …with some floss handy. Floss after consuming coffee, wine, or other dark acidic beverages to prevent staining between the teeth.
Coffee lovers shouldn’t feel discouraged, though – drinking coffee does still carry several health benefits. Two cups per day has been shown to lower your risk of depression and Type II Diabetes, and generally help you live a longer life. Just remember to think of your teeth as you sip!
To schedule an appointment with your Legacy provider, visit us online or call (832) 548-5000.