Is Caffeine Bad for Your Teeth?

Caffeine isn’t all bad, but it can have some negative effects on your dental health. We explain how to protect your teeth without having to give up your morning coffee.

Is Caffeine Bad for Your Teeth?

If you’re “addicted” to coffee, you might be wondering how all that caffeine is affecting your dental health. On its own, caffeine is fairly harmless. However, caffeinated beverages usually contain other ingredients like sugars, acids, and dyes, that are not very good for your teeth. 

Depending on how frequently you drink them, caffeinated beverages can cause cavities, stains,  enamel erosion, and even teeth grinding. So if you’re sipping on an iced latte every morning and drinking sugary sodas all afternoon, your dental health could start to suffer. 

We explain how caffeine affects your teeth, and how you can protect your dental health without having to give up your morning coffee.

What’s the problem with caffeine?

Caffeine is actually a naturally-occurring antioxidant with many health benefits. It can help relieve migraines and it even promotes weight loss. However, consuming large amounts of caffeine can trigger some negative side effects. 

For example, caffeine has been linked to sleep bruxism—people who drink a lot of caffeine also tend to grind their teeth at night. Teeth grinding can cause a variety of dental problems, including enamel erosion, tooth fractures, and jaw pain.

Caffeine may also inhibit calcium absorption. Calcium is a very important mineral for good dental health because it promotes strong teeth and bones. If you’re at risk for osteoporosis, you may need to curb your caffeine intake.

Is coffee bad for your teeth?

It depends how you take it, and how many cups you drink every day. Coffee isn’t all bad. In fact, it has many beneficial antioxidants and even some antibacterial properties. It’s best to take it black—adding milk or cream and sugar increases the risk of cavities. 

When it comes to stains, whether you drink espresso or decaf, light roast or dark, coffee can still leave marks on your teeth. The tannins that give coffee its rich, dark color can leave yellowish stains. Because coffee is also quite acidic, it makes your teeth even more vulnerable to stains and cavities by weakening your tooth enamel. 

Are energy drinks better for your teeth than coffee?

Unfortunately, no. Just like coffee, tea, and soda, energy drinks can also cause tooth decay and stains. Besides their high acidity, they are also full of sugar, and both of these ingredients are bad news when it comes to cavities. Plus, energy drinks often have artificial dyes that can stain your teeth.

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy If You Drink Caffeine

  • Limit your caffeine intake. If you’re drinking three or more caffeinated beverages a day, try to cut back. Moderate consumption can help prevent negative side effects like teeth grinding and stains.
  • Brush your teeth first. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste or mineral tooth powder helps strengthen your tooth enamel against acid attacks. If you brush your teeth before you drink your morning coffee or tea, they’ll be less vulnerable to cavities and stains.
  • Drink water afterward. Drinking a glass of water after you finish your favorite soda or energy drink will neutralize acids and wash away any residual dyes or sugars. It will also help keep your mouth hydrated, which is one of the best ways to prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum freshens your breath, increases saliva flow, and neutralizes acids. Just make sure it’s sweetened with xylitol or stevia to prevent cavities.
  • Take a B12 supplement. Low energy levels could be due to a vitamin deficiency. And since B12 supports good gum health, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. 

Holistic Dental Care in Prescott, Arizona

As holistic dentists, we know that good dental health and good physical health go hand in hand. That’s why we take your entire lifestyle into consideration—including your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine can be bad for your teeth, and caffeinated beverages can also cause stains. Come to see us for an exam and cleaning, and you’ll be smiling brighter. 

If you live in the Prescott area, contact us today to make an appointment. 


Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 5/15/2024.