Some people treat coffee drinking almost as if it were a sport. In the office or at home, cups upon cups of coffee douse your teeth in darkness, risking tooth stains. But recent studies suggest drinking up for oral health. Research suggests that Americans who consume more than four cups of regular coffee every day cut their risk of mouth and throat cancer in half. Don’t start chugging fresh pots of joe just yet. The doctors behind the study claim more research will confirm their results. If this news is true, should you risk losing your white teeth for the benefits of four cups of coffee a day? In this article, Ankeny family dentist, Dr. Erika Peddicord, explores the latest news on coffee, and what it could mean for your teeth.
The Good News
Coffee’s high antioxidant and polyphenol content help slow or prevent cancer development. Researchers determined this after observing nearly one million men and women who drank coffee and tea since 1982. Participants who drank more than four cups of coffee a day showed a 49% less risk of developing throat and mouth cancer. Drinking de-caffeinated coffee or tea did not show similar results. Drinking so much coffee may not be the best idea for the well-being of your teeth, however.
Cons of Coffee
Drinking coffee exposes your teeth to tannins, natural dyes found in fruits and vegetables. Tannins can soak plaque, which, if left to harden into tarter on teeth, can de-mineralize enamel and leave tooth stains. Brushing away plaque before drinking coffee provides one way to avoid discolored teeth, but the high temperatures of hot coffee could still stain teeth. Extreme heat creates small cracks in enamel, allowing tannins in coffee to bathe teeth the dark liquid. Brushing immediately after drinking coffee will only damage enamel further, because coffee’s heat and high level of acidity leaves teeth subject to abrasion from a toothbrush. You should brush half an hour after drinking coffee. Better yet, rinse with water after a cup of joe to wash away tannins.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Ankeny Dentist
Has coffee gotten the best of your teeth? Visit Dr. Peddicord to discuss options for teeth whitening. We offer porcelain veneers to cover and resist tooth stains, or professional teeth whitening treatments at our 50021 dentist office. Call (515) 963-3339 to make an appointment and learn more. We serve patients in Ankeny, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Maxwell, Collins, and surrounding areas.