Coffee and Tooth Decay

Can’t do without a cup of coffee? Do you know the effects it has on your teeth?

Image by jared via Flickr

Image by jared via Flickr

The popular beverage coffee has a stimulating and a boosting effect on our mind and energy levels. However, with increasing awareness on dental care, coffee now has added a fair share of concern to those who are high on coffee consumption.

Tooth decay is caused mainly due to the loss of hard tissues like enamel and dentin that are the tooth’s protective covering. Carbohydrates along with bacteria result in production of acids that dissolve enamel and dentin, resulting in cavities and plaque formation.

Coffee contains caffeine, a chemical alkaloid that acts as a stimulant. Caffeine is also present in other beverages such as cola and certain energy drinks. Cups of coffee with sugar added, supply an unusual amount of carbohydrates (sugar). This frequent exposure of sugar along with bacteria to the teeth’s enamel causes high levels of acid formation that dissolves the teeth’s protective covering. Once the enamel is dissolved, tooth decay sets in.

Caffeine present in the coffee interferes with natural saliva production, causing a dry mouth, resulting in tooth decay. Another theory related to coffee and tooth decay is formed on the basis of calcium loss. Acids dissolve the calcium molecules from the tooth surface, weakening the base and forming a cavity. Untreated coffee stains also play a part in causing tooth decay. Permanent coffee stains on teeth not only discolor the tooth, but erode the porous enamel over time.

The easiest way to save ourselves the trouble of suffering tooth decay would be to avoid drinking coffee, however, for those who survive on it; this would be a hard option. Moderate consumption, along with adequate dental care is perhaps the only way to ensure that your cup of coffee does not damage your teeth.

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