From enjoying the delicious taste to having it in the morning to wake yourself up, coffee is most likely an important part of your day. On average, Americans drink 2.1 coffee drinks each day. While it may seem beneficial for your emotional and physical health, drinking an excessive amount of coffee each day can affect your mouth, teeth, and gums in negative ways.
You need to understand the potential dangers and undergo regular cleanings and exams so you and your dentist can help protect your smile from the effects of drinking too much coffee.
1. Tooth Stains
You may be surprised to learn that it only takes one cup of coffee every day to stain your teeth. If you drink multiple cups each and every day, your teeth can become severely discolored and stained.
The surface of your teeth may look smooth, but the layer of enamel covering your teeth contains numerous ridges and cracks. Food particles and pigments from different beverages, such as coffee, will embed in these ridges and cracks, which discolors the surface of your teeth.
Without intervention, such as proper brushing, routine cleanings by your dentist, and whitening treatments, the coffee stains will become more difficult to remove. This results in a smile that is not white and bright, but yellow and dull.
One common misconception people have is that adding creamer or milk to the coffee will reduce the risk of staining. However, that is not actually true. While it will lighten the coffee, the creamer or milk does not decrease your coffee's dark pigments that stain the actual teeth.
2. Enamel Erosion
Coffee not only affects the color of your tooth enamel. Excessive consumption of this caffeinated beverage can also erode the tooth enamel. The various acids found in coffee can eat through and erode your tooth enamel, allowing food particles and bacteria to seep into the teeth.
Bacteria can seep into the teeth and gum tissue and increase the risk of cavities, decay, and gum disease. Without treatment, cavities, decay, and gum disease can lead to painful infections and the loss of one or more teeth.
3. Dry Mouth
Saliva is an important part of your oral hygiene. It keeps your mouth moist and helps to rinse away food particles and bacteria. Saliva contains minerals that help rebuild tooth enamel, as well. Unfortunately, drinking a lot of caffeinated coffee will dry out the mouth, decreasing saliva production that is necessary for your oral health.
Insufficient saliva causes your mouth to become dry and can also lead to irritated gum tissue. You may develop sores on the gums, tongue, and inside of the mouth without proper moisture from saliva. Finally, dry mouth can cause you to have coffee breath, which is unappealing and uncomfortable. Bad breath can affect how your mouth feels, and it can also decrease your self-esteem.
4. Stress-Related Dental Disorders
Drinking a lot of caffeinated coffee can stimulates your nervous system, which can make you feel stress and anxiety. For many people, stress is a cause of TMJ, or temporomandibular disorder, and bruxism, or teeth grinding. From locking your jaw and actual pain and headaches to completely wearing down your tooth enamel, TMJ disorder and bruxism can wreak havoc on your smile.
If you suffer from one of these stress-related dental disorders, consider reducing your intake of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Consuming less caffeine will ease the symptoms of TMJ or bruxism while managing or treating your stress and anxiety. Coffee may be an important part of your daily life, but knowing how it can affect your smile is essential. For more information on coffee and your oral health, contact Universal Dental Center today.