How Does Coffee Affect Your Teeth?

I love coffee, but my alternative medicine doctor wants me to cut back. When he asked me how much I drink in a day, my response was, “as much as I can!”

As a dentist, I am well informed as to the dental pros and cons of coffee.

The obvious down side is tooth staining. The good news on this is that the staining is extrinsic, which means that it’s pretty much on the surface and is easily removed from a professional cleaning or tooth whitening products.

Another downside is the acidic nature of coffee. Acids will slowly dissolve teeth – if you put an extracted tooth in coke it will dissolve in a few days. I haven’t performed this experiment on coffee, but I would expense a smaller amount of the same. One way to counteract this effect is to rinse with water after drinking coffee which will bring the pH up and make the mouth less acidic.

Are there any dental benefits? There are supposed to be compounds in the coffee that will reduce tooth decay. There are probably many other items that people eat that will have greater effects on tooth decay, one way or the other. There is also some evidence that coffee helps patients with periodontal disease.


Of course, if you put sugar in your coffee, that does have a whole different effect on your teeth. The decay causing bacteria just love that!


I have also learned that too much caffeine can create other problems, beyond dental.  Lots of caffeine can effect the organs. For me personally, my adrenals go wild and have affected my sleep. One solution for me is to have the regular coffee in the morning, and if I have to have the taste of coffee later in the day, switch to decaffeinated. I have also found out that the effects of caffeine from tea are less stressful on the body. Several years ago I gave up coffee for over a year and switched to tea. I love coffee much more and switched back. But, my sleep was better for that time than it has been recently…there’s something to what my doctor has told me!