How Coffee Affects Your Dental Health

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
February 22, 2017

Cup of coffee on blue plate

Ahh! Nothing beats a warm cup of coffee. It’s energizing and likely an integral part of your routine to get ready for the day. You might even reach for a second cup when you’re feeling that afternoon slump. But how is all of that coffee affecting your dental health, and what can you do to reduce its negative effects on your pearly whites?

Coffee Stains More Than Your Clothes

There are microscopic ridges and pits within the enamel of every tooth, and when you eat and drink, they can hold onto particles. That means that a dark drink like coffee could actually embed itself into your enamel, causing unsightly yellowing of the teeth.

The top way to prevent those stains is by avoiding coffee, but we know that the need for a caffeine fix is strong, so you probably won’t be giving up your cup of joe just because your teeth might be yellowed by it. Instead, you can incorporate the following strategies into your coffee drinking routine:

  • Don’t sip your coffee throughout the day. Enjoy it at certain times, such as with breakfast and during an afternoon break. When you’re finished, rinse your mouth with water and/or brush your teeth.

  • Avoid getting coffee directly on your teeth by drinking it through a straw.

  • Eat some raw veggies and fruits throughout the day. They have natural fiber that can help keep your teeth sparkling.

  • Follow a dental hygiene routine at home that involves brushing at least twice a day, and switch to a whitening toothpaste so you can remove stains and maintain a brilliant smile.

  • Try an over-the-counter teeth whitening product, or talk to your dentist about professional whitening options.

  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings.

Beware of Bad Breath

In addition to staining your teeth, coffee might even lead to the development of bad breath. This is because the beverage sticks to your tongue. Yuck! Thankfully, you can prevent offensive coffee breath by brushing your teeth and using a tongue scraper after you’re done drinking. To help prevent bad breath, you can also try eating some food before you drink your coffee.

Coffee Can Dry Out Your Mouth

It might sound counterintuitive because coffee is a drink, after all, but it could have drying effects on your mouth by inhibiting saliva production. Without enough saliva, it becomes harder for your body to keep your mouth clean and balanced naturally.

Coffee Can Weaken Your Teeth

More bad news: coffee is an acidic beverage. This means that it could actually help bacteria within your mouth make acids that lead to enamel erosion. Over time, your teeth might become brittle and thin. And when teeth are weakened, they become more susceptible to a host of other problems, including sensitivity, cavities, and decay. Plus, if you are adding a lot of sugar and cream to your coffee, you could be doing even more harm to your chompers.  

But, Wait, There’s Good News!

Coffee lovers, rejoice! When it comes to drinking java, it isn’t all doom and gloom for your dental health after all.

Coffee contains polyphenols that could help keep your teeth healthy and strong by breaking down the bacteria that lead to plaque. Varieties that are high in caffeine will be highest in polyphenols. But you do need to drink the coffee black, without any sweeteners, milk, or creamers that would offset any of the benefits provided by the polyphenols. So if you enjoy a strong cup, you’re in luck.   

Everything in Moderation Is the Key

To prevent the damage that coffee could potentially cause to your teeth, enjoy it in moderation. Experts recommend that you limit your intake to just two cups per day. Also, brush and floss your teeth daily and see your dentist for cleanings to remove stains. With a Spirit dental plan, you can rest assured that your smile will always be white and bright, regardless of how much you love coffee, because you’ll gain access to three teeth cleanings per year. So go ahead and indulge, whether you need a caffeine fix or you enjoy coffee as part of a relaxing ritual.

Search for Resources


Senior Dental Health
Eye Health
Children's Dental Health
Dental Health