Your morning routine is set in stone. Muscle memory gets you out of bed and to your coffee maker. You wait impatiently while the machine starts up to deliver your must-have jolt of caffeine. If you'd rather give up anything before your coffee, the last thing you want to hear is your dentist telling you to quit. So how can you stay on top of your dental care while drinking your coffee?
What Coffee Does to Your Teeth
The most obvious thing coffee does to your teeth is stain them. You end up with a yellow or brown tint to your smile due to a compound called tannin. Another side effect of this beverage is that its acidity causes enamel erosion. Your protective outer layer of the tooth may become worn down thanks to coffee.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health While Drinking Coffee
You don't have to give up your morning cup of joe to keep your teeth in good shape. However, you do need to stay on top of your oral hygiene and go above and beyond when it comes to taking care of your mouth. Here are a few ways to keep your dentist happy while still making mornings bearable.
Brush After Drinking Coffee
If you let acid sit on your teeth, it has more time to grow bacteria and do damage. Once you're done drinking your cup of coffee, head to the bathroom and brush your teeth. If you're not able to do a full brush, a quick rinse with mouthwash can help.
Embrace Your Inner Child With a Straw
Coffee can't stain your teeth if it never touches them. When you bring out a straw, you bypass the rest of your mouth and get the liquid directly down your throat. This option works best if you drink cold brew or iced coffee.
Cut Down on the Coffee Quantity
Try to group your cups of coffee into one time slot, rather than having it on-hand throughout the day. You reduce the acid getting on your teeth and make it easier for you to have a single toothbrushing break to take care of the issue afterward.
Take Your Coffee Black
Sugar, creamer, and a mile-high dollop of whipped cream may be your go-to in the morning, but it's also creating an ideal environment for bacteria in your mouth. Cut back on these additions to your drink to limit the staining and damage being done.
Stick to Your Dental Cleaning Schedule
You're supposed to go in for a professional cleaning every six months. You need to keep to that schedule so you can refresh your teeth and fight back against the staining that may accumulate due to coffee drinking. In between visits, look for toothpaste that has whitening compounds so you can cut down on the staining that builds up. You also need to adopt a rigorous oral hygiene routine that has you brushing after meals, in the morning and at night. Work in a good tongue cleaning as well, as coffee can also stick in this area.
No one is going to force you to give up your favorite morning drink. However, you should follow these suggestions so you can maintain your smile, while keeping your caffeine levels high.