The Dark Side of Your Daily Grind

It’s the one vice you thought you could enjoy without harmful side effects. But now your morning brew has officially been added to the list of habits that are detrimental to the health of your smile.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, according to a study by the National Coffee Association. More than 50 percent of Americans drink a cup daily. Other foods and drinks such as fruits, wine, chocolate and soft drinks, can all cause discoloration of tooth enamel. Enjoying a hot cup of coffee, however, goes one step further, as extreme temperature changes in your mouth can cause teeth to expand and contract. This phenomenon can allow stains to penetrate deep into the micro-cracks of your tooth enamel.

Additionally, caffeine is a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose water. So when you enjoy coffee or any kind of caffeinated beverage, it slows the production of saliva and causes dry mouth, which can potentially lead to bad breath and even tooth decay.

If you can’t bear the thought of parting with your morning brew, consider these tips to help make sure your teeth stay in tip-top shape:

  • Drink a glass of water with your coffee. Not only does it help neutralize and rinse away the acid left behind from the coffee, but it also helps replenish fluid drawn out of your body by caffeine.
  • Chew gum after you drink coffee. Chewing gum will help keep your saliva production up and prevent dry mouth.
  • Switch to decaf. Each cup of regular coffee you drink has on average of 110 milligrams of caffeine. Decaf has the same great taste with only 2-12 milligrams of caffeine.

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