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  • Writer's pictureChris Salierno, DDS

Is coffee bad for my teeth?

Who doesn't love a nice cup of coffee in the morning? Or a few more throughout the day? Coffee, and its related beverages like espresso and frappuccino, is a regular treat to perk us up... but is it also harmful to our teeth? The answer is: maybe. Let's find out if your daily dose is harming your oral health.

The two fundamental ingredients in coffee products are coffee beans and water. That's it. The good news is that those two things do not cause tooth decay or gum disease. That's good news!

The only oral health concern with your basic coffee drinks is that it will often lead to staining on your teeth. So it's more of a cosmetic problem than a health problem. If you want to fight the stain, consider a quick brush after you finish. You can also drink through a straw so the staining particles slip passed your teeth. Otherwise, you can rely on daily brushing and flossing, regular professional cleanings at the dentist, and whitening products.

Unfortunately, many people don't just drink plain, black coffee. When you add sugar and milk (which also contains sugar) to your coffee beverage, you've now made it more dangerous to your teeth. The more sugar that's in your coffee AND the more frequently you sip and swish it around, the more at risk you'll be for new cavities.

The point about frequency is important. Imagine you have a tasty caramel macchiato. Is it better to slowly sip it throughout the day or to drink it as quickly as possible? The answer is the latter; slowly sipping your sugary treat continually exposes your teeth to sugary over a period of time and actually increases your risk for getting tooth decay. If you drink the same beverage quickly then your give your mouth recovers more quickly and you'll be less likely to have tooth decay.


Disclaimer: ToothQuest is for informational purposes only and is not to be taken as dental, medical, or legal advice.  Please consult with your dentist or other appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions that would affect your health.

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