Many people start off their mornings with a steaming cup of coffee, and cannot imagine pushing through their day without one. While coffee is one of the most commonly consumed beverages on the planet, a large portion of individuals who drink it are unaware of the physiological changes it can cause inside the body, including the mouth. Here are three things coffee can do to your teeth and gums, and what you can do about them.
1. Enamel Erosion
Because of the high acidity content of coffee, drinking too much can lead to the erosion of your dental enamel. When your tooth enamel becomes thin as a result of erosion, you may be at a heightened risk for developing cavities and infections of the pulp inside your tooth.
To reduce your risk for enamel damage from coffee, rinse your mouth with water after drinking coffee and talk to your dentist about using a toothpaste specifically designed to keep your enamel strong and resistant to erosion. If your teeth become sensitive as a result of acidic foods or drinks, try limiting your intake of coffee and citrus fruits while your teeth are healing.
2. Dry Mouth
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a potent diuretic. This means that it promotes frequent urination and fluid loss. When you lose too much fluid through urination, you may become dehydrated.
Symptoms of dehydration include dry skin, poor skin turgor, sunken eyes, and dry mouth. If your mouth stays dry for prolonged periods of time, infection-causing bacteria may accumulate, raising your risk for gum disease and cavities.
If you experience dry mouth as a result of your coffee consumption, try drinking decaffeinated coffee. In addition to this, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help enhance oral moisture. Chewing sugarless gum or enjoying a piece of hard candy will also help promote salivary flow in your mouth.
3. Reduce Gingivitis Risk
While drinking too much coffee can adversely affect your mouth, in certain cases it can actually be good for oral health. Coffee is rich in healthy antioxidants, and it may also have strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Because of these qualities, coffee may actually help stave off gingivitis. In addition to preventing the development of new gingivitis, coffee may also help reverse existing gum disease. If you drink coffee and notice problems with your teeth and gums, see your dentist. The sooner he or she knows about your symptoms, the sooner an effective treatment plan can be implemented to help slow further dental damage.
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