Caffeine: Is It Really Bad For My Teeth?
If you start each day with a cup of coffee or tea, you aren’t alone! Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive substance in the world, with 80% of adults enjoying some type of caffeine each day.
While caffeine is beneficial for giving you a boost for the day and providing a sense of comfort, have you ever stopped to think about caffeine’s effects on your teeth?
This article will answer the question, “Is caffeine bad for my health?” and discuss the different types of caffeine, caffeine effects on your teeth and tips to keep you enjoying that morning brew without damaging your teeth.
What Types of Caffeine Are Harmful for My Health?
To answer the question, “Is caffeine bad for my health?” While caffeine is not harmful to your health when consumed in moderation, certain caffeine-containing products can damage your health if not consumed sensibly.
Firstly, what is caffeine?
Caffeine is a drug that stimulates your brain and nervous system and is found in many drinks, such as coffee and tea.
There are two types of caffeine:
- Natural: Natural caffeine is found naturally in coffee, tea and chocolate.
- Synthetic: Synthetic caffeine is produced in a lab and is added to foods and beverages, including energy drinks, fizzy drinks and lollies.
Caffeine is well-absorbed by the body, with the short-term effects kicking in between 5 and 30 minutes after consuming it. Some effects include increased heart rate, mental awareness, and physical energy. Depending on your tolerance, the effects of caffeine can last up to 12 hours.
Research has found that 400 milligrams of caffeine (around four to five cups of coffee) is safe for a healthy adult to consume daily without any adverse effects.
So, is caffeine really bad for health? What types of caffeine are harmful to your health? And does drinking coffee weaken your teeth? Let’s find out.
Some energy drinks can contain extremely high amounts of caffeine (some with 300 milligrams per can), often far exceeding what is considered safe for most people.
If you consume energy drinks regularly, especially those with high caffeine levels, you are subjecting yourself to high blood pressure, heart palpitations and insomnia.
Pure caffeine supplements or powders, such as pre-workout, can be dangerous if not consumed sensibly.
Too many caffeine supplements can lead to an overdose with symptoms of anxiety, a rapid heartbeat and, in severe cases, caffeine toxicity.
Excessive coffee intake
While drinking coffee in moderation is considered safe for the average adult, coffee consumption exceeding five cups per day can have negative effects. One of the frequent questions of coffee enthusiasts would be “Does coffee weaken my teeth?”
While drinking excessive amounts of coffee can increase heart rate, digestive problems and insomnia, caffeine contents also affect the teeth.
Problems Caffeine Causes Teeth
While caffeine isn’t bad for you (as long as you consume it in moderation), too much can damage your teeth.
Below are ways the different types of caffeinated drinks can cause problems with your teeth.
Everyone who drinks coffee knows it’s a great pick-me-up, no matter the time of day. But does coffee weaken your teeth?
Yes, it can.
The way coffee increases bacteria in the mouth can lead to cavities as the bacteria create an acid that leads to tooth and enamel erosion.
However, the most common way coffee can damage teeth is through discolouration. Coffee contains a natural plant compound called tannins, which are also found in tea, and are responsible for changing the colour of your teeth. Adding milk to your coffee won’t counteract the discolouration either, as the pigments and acids responsible for the colour of coffee don’t disappear with milk present.
Much like coffee, tea is a culprit for tooth discolouration.
Tea also has tannins, which change the colour of teeth they come in contact with. Thankfully, adding milk to your tea reduces the staining effects it has on your teeth.
Energy and fizzy drinks
Drinking too much energy or fizzy drinks can increase your chances of developing cavities.
In energy drinks, especially, the acid levels are so high that they can gradually destroy your tooth enamel. The sugar levels in energy and fizzy drinks can also lead to tooth decay.
Oral Health Tips For Enjoying Caffeine
Maintaining good oral health while enjoying caffeine is essential to prevent negative effects of caffeine on teeth and gums.
If you can’t give up caffeine, here are some tips to help you continue enjoying your morning brew without compromising your teeth.
Drink it through a straw
While completely stopping caffeine consumption would reduce the chances of your teeth becoming discoloured, there are ways around it if you can’t cut out caffeine.
To avoid your teeth changing an unwanted colour of yellow or brown, drink your coffee or tea through a straw to reduce contact with your teeth.
Vegetables and coffee? Sounds like an odd combination, doesn’t it? But it works!
Eating vegetables, such as carrots, after finishing your coffee can reduce the chance of stained teeth.
Carrots contain high amounts of natural fibres that can break down harmful bacteria that otherwise would’ve attacked your teeth and stained them.
Brush and floss regularly
It may seem obvious, but brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily especially if you consume a lot of caffeine will help to prevent stains and cavities.
Brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush has been found to reduce plaque by 21% due to the circular motions of the toothbrush being stronger than manual toothbrushes.
Another way to prevent caffeine from damaging your teeth is to brush them with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
See your dentist regularly
Seeing your dentist every six months for a clean and check-up is recommended.
Using specialised tools, your dentist can remove plaque from your teeth that you may not have been able to remove from brushing and flossing only.
By seeing your dentist regularly, they can examine your teeth and potentially treat any cavities.
Get your teeth professionally whitened
If your teeth are already stained or discoloured from excessive coffee or tea consumption, there is a solution!
Getting your teeth professionally whitened at Admire Dentistry can help remove the discolouration from your teeth and give you a whiter, brighter smile!
Book A Check-up And Clean At Admire Dentistry
Caffeine is a big part of everyday life; whether you drink it for energy or comfort, you should pay extra attention to caffeine’s effects on teeth that can potentially lead to damage of teeth, if not properly taken care of.
However, by consuming caffeine in moderation, practising good oral hygiene and regularly visiting the dentist, you can enjoy your favourite caffeinated drinks without compromising the health of your smile.
If you’re worried about how coffee or tea has affected your teeth, why not book a check-up and clean at Admire Dentistry?
Book an appointment today to maintain your oral health and ensure your smile stays radiant!