Holiday parties, gift shopping and traveling to see family can leave you exhausted. When there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, we tend to lean on coffee and other caffeine infused beverages to sustain us until our head can hit the pillow again. And while the holiday-inspired flavors might hit the spot in the moment, are they doing long term damage to our teeth?
Giving up your morning nectar may not be in the equation, so how can you ensure what you’re drinking isn’t doing harm to your mouth and teeth? No worries—we at Dr. Ku’s office have outlined the best and the worst options when you hit the coffee shop this holiday season!
Develop Healthy Coffee Habits
Studies have shown that coffee in moderation can have nutritional benefits. Antioxidant properties have been proven to be good for the liver and reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, these same properties have been shown to be good for your teeth, too! But…don’t let this good news prompt you to drink coffee with abandon. Follow these dos and don’ts for maximum health benefits in your coffee consumption:
- DO choose organic coffee to ensure the beans have not been previously sprayed with pesticides.
- DO grind your own beans at home to protect the antioxidants in the coffee. Coffee grounds exposed to oxygen quickly lose these properties.
- DO drink coffee with a meal to stabilize insulin levels. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can increase sugar cravings. And excess sugar leads to costly and painful periodontal diseases.
- DON’T load up your coffee with sugar or sugary creamers. Excess sugar can linger in the cracks of your teeth and on your gum line, causing cavities and tooth decay.
Coffee Shop Choices
If you find yourself crashing while Christmas shopping and hit your local coffee shop, don’t let the huge menu filled with holiday-inspired concoctions distract you. These drinks are loaded with excess sugar that will leave you on a sugar-high, and could damage your teeth. If you do choose to indulge, brush your teeth within 30 minutes of drinking or, at minimum, wash your mouth out with water. Below are the worst offenders by sugar content this holiday season:
- Eggnog Latte: 52 grams of sugar which is equal to 16 mini candy canes.
- Peppermint Mocha: 54 grams of sugar which is also equal to 16 mini candy canes.
- Holiday Spice Flat White: 30 grams of sugar which is equal to 9 mini candy canes.
- Caramel Brûlée Latte: 54 grams of sugar which is equal to 16 mini candy canes.
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate: 61 grams of sugar which is equal to 20 mini candy canes.
Protect Your Teeth
Aside from coffee breath, coffee can have other harmful effects on your teeth. But to ensure you are not deprived of your daily cup of Joe, we have compiled a list of ways to prevent tooth decay AND stains to accompany your daily cup:
- Drink more water: Coffee can make your mouth dry and sticky. And a dry mouth is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can invade your gum line. After you’re done with your coffee, up your water intake to prevent dry mouth (and coffee breath)!
- Use a straw: Prevent coffee stains by drinking coffee through a straw. This eliminates the direct contact between the acidic coffee and your teeth.
- Maintain good oral health: This includes washing your mouth out with water after drinking coffee, as well as brushing and flossing your teeth. Coffee is just like any other food, don’t ignore good oral hygiene.
Ensuring healthy teeth doesn’t mean you have to give you your daily cup of Joe. Just like with other indulgences, make sure to practice moderation. Excellent oral care will also help prevent any negative effects of your favorite cup of coffee. Leave us a comment with your favorite Fort Worth coffee shops; we are always looking for great new places!