Coffee and Donuts and Cavities—Oh My!

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You’re sitting at the table, sipping on a delicious cup of coffee, reading the newspaper, and casually nibbling at a glazed donut. Are you also destroying your teeth irrevocably? The short answer is probably not. While you may be bathing your teeth in sugar and acids, hopefully, you aren’t going to be leaving it there all day. Try to brush your teeth or chew on sugar-free gum right after finishing your (not so healthy) morning breakfast.

What is causing dental issues?

  • The acids in the coffee you drink in the morning can do damage to your enamel.
  • The sugars in your donut (and coffee) will erode enamel and live in the dips and divots of your teeth.
  • Keeping food and drink in your mouth longer through slowly eating throughout the day increases impact on oral health
  • Tannins in coffee etch into the grooves of the tooth enamel, this causes staining

Why is coffee bad for teeth?

Coffee has tannins in it, most commonly thought of when discussing red wines, but they are also in your cup of morning joe. Tannins are a type of polyphenol that breaks down in water; it causes the color compounds in the beverage to stick to your teeth. Your teeth aren’t smooth; even if you brush there is a chance you haven’t gotten everything off them. These tannins can be found in foods and drinks derived from certain beans and berries including pies, wines, and smoothies.

Coffee, as well as other beverages that aren’t water, introduce natural bacteria to your mouth. These bacteria to live, die, and reproduce. The life cycle taking place on your teeth and tongue creates harmful alcohols that attack your teeth and eat away at the enamel coating of every tooth in your smile. The best way to minimize this problem is to refrain from sipping at your coffee over the course of many hours and to make sure you brush your teeth within a short period of time of drinking that slow roast or pour over.