How Coffee & Tea Are Good for Your Teeth
Coffee & Tea Can Be Good for Your Teeth
It’s common knowledge that drinking coffee or tea is one of the most popular ways to begin your morning, and you probably also know that regular coffee & tea consumption can lead to stained or yellowing teeth.
But what are the dental health benefits of coffee & tea?
Recent research points to yes, in moderation that is. As with most things, there are both positive & negative factors to consider, whether we’re talking about food, drinks, or medications.
If you have any questions about how coffee and tea affect your teeth, talk with your dentist.
Before we get into how coffee & tea is good for your teeth, let’s first examine why these morning beverages of choice can have negative effects.
How Is Coffee & Tea Bad for Your Teeth?
Coffee and tea can also have negative effects on your smile, some of the most obvious being:
- Staining & discoloration
- Erosion of tooth enamel
- Jam clenching & teeth grinding
Teeth Staining & Discoloration
Both coffee and tea contain tannins, but coffee contains fewer than tea, it’s these tannins that can lead to staining or yellowing of your teeth over time.
Due to its high tannin content, tea can even stain your teeth more than coffee – with regular consumption.
Darker teas, like black tea, will contribute to more staining of your teeth as opposed to herbal tea or green tea.
Tooth Enamel Erosion
Eating acidic foods – or drinks – can have an erosive effect on your tooth enamel, and lead to tooth decay.
When we add sugar to the acidic mix of coffee & tea, it’s like laying out the welcome mat for the cavity creeps.
This is because whenever you eat sugar or drink something which contains sugar, the natural bacteria in your mouth begin to feed on that sugar.
As a result of gobbling down all that sugar stuck to your teeth, the bacteria produce acids that can lead to erosion of tooth enamel and decay.
Jaw Clenching & Teeth Grinding
Drinking too much caffeine can cause your jaw to clench, which can lead to teeth grinding, jaw pain, and wearing down of your tooth surfaces
These negative effects of caffeinated coffee & tea are exacerbated when consumed at night.
Consuming too much caffeine at night or later in the day can interfere with your sleep patterns, and cause jaw pain from the clenching & grinding of your teeth.
What Can You Do To Limit The Negative Effects of Coffee & Tea on Your Teeth?
To prevent the negative effects of coffee & tea on your teeth, take care to:
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking coffee or tea.
- Skip the sugar and limit the creamer in your coffee & tea.
- Avoid caffeinated coffee & tea at night.
- Drink coffee & tea in moderation, and at a moderate temperature – not too hot!
- Ask your dentist if they are noticing any negative side effects.
That takes care of the bad stuff, and what you can do to prevent damage to your teeth from your daily coffee or tea drinking.
Why Are Coffee & Tea Good for Your Teeth?
Coffee & tea are both rich in antioxidants, but it seems that the caffeine may also help protect your teeth.
Antioxidants (polyphenols and catechins, specifically) are known to help reduce inflammation, help to reduce cholesterol, alleviate high blood pressure, and protect against heart attack and stroke.
These antioxidants also help to reduce inflammation in your mouth.
This is why red wine, coffee, and even chocolate have been said to be good for your teeth despite their historic reputation for being bad for your teeth.
And there’s another reason coffee is good for your teeth, Trigonelline. Trigonelline is a main ingredient in coffee beans, and it’s been said to help prevent tooth decay.
In a 2014 study conducted in Brazil, coffee was demonstrated to destroy the bacteria that lead to dental plaque formation.
It’s plaque that leads to gum disease, tooth decay and worse.
For the study “Antibacterial effect of coffee: calcium concentration in a culture containing teeth/biofilm exposed to Coffea Canephora aqueous extract” researchers from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil found that coffee which contains high amounts of caffeine can destroy bacteria that cause dental plaque.
The researchers observed that the fragments that were treated with Robusta coffee extract appeared to have been lysed, a process wherein the polyphenols destroy the bacteria on the teeth by bursting them open.
After a week, the researchers also observed that the teeth that were exposed to coffee extracts appeared to be in better condition compared with those that were treated only with filtered water.
So caffeine can lead to jaw clenching & teeth grinding, but it can also help destroy dental plaque?
That seems to be the case; again, most things we eat & drink can be considered both good & bad for us.
So back to the everything in moderation point, coffee & tea can both be good for your teeth – but only without the added cream and sugar, and when consumed in moderation of course!
How do you like your coffee or tea…with or without sugar and creamer?
Wayne NJ Dentist: Wayne Dental Arts office of Frank V. Maldonado, D.D.S.
We proudly provide all phases of General & Cosmetic Dentistry services for Wayne and the surrounding North Jersey communities of Franklin Lakes, Montville, Kinnelon, Oakland, Pompton Lakes, Pompton Plains, Towaco, Butler, Paterson, Lincoln Park, Pequannock, Little Falls and Fairfield.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Dental Patient News and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.