​Coffee and Teeth

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Coffee and Teeth

August is National Coffee Month. Other than water, there is no drink that is more deserving of national recognition.

The United States is the world’s leading consumer of coffee. According to the National Coffee Association, approximately 83% of the adult population of the United States consumes coffee. U.S. residents drink around 600 million cups of coffee every year. If you were to extrapolate that number, it would work out to around 2.5 cups of coffee for every adult in the United States of America. That number continues to climb with the increase of the population of the country. Though the U.S. is the highest per capita consumer of this drink, it enjoys great popularity all throughout the world.

I can remember binge-drinking coffee on numerous occasions to energize me for a sleepless night of studying before an important exam the following morning.   For my academic colleagues and I, coffee was not a mere want, it was a necessity!

Uses for coffee:

  • Coffee enhances alertness. The energy rush provided by caffeine can be just what is needed to get over early-morning grogginess.
  • Fitting in. There are many social situations where you will find coffee drinkers congregating and mingling. The coffee is the extenuating binding factor that they all have in common. If you find yourself in this type of scenario, but caffeine does not agree with you; try a decaffeinated cup of coffee instead.
  • It not only sharpens mental clarity, but it assists athletic performance as well. Interestingly, a male bodybuilder that drinks a cup of coffee for half an hour before they begin their workout will gain an enhanced testosterone boost that will be sustained throughout the duration of an hour long workout. 

    Consumption of coffee has been found to enhance the performance of athletes

  • Tension relief. Coffee has been proven in countless studies to relieve tension and improve the moods of those suffering from clinical depression.
  • Many people simply enjoy the taste of coffee. Some people like their coffee with plenty of sugar and cream, others prefer it black. These drinkers are less concerned with the effect of coffee on their psyche and physicality and more concerned with the effect that it has on their taste buds.
  • Coffee assists in the food digestion process. This is because coffee triggers the stomach to dispense hydrochloric acid. This release of hydrochloric acid lends a helping hand to the digestive system.
  • In Europe, it is popular for coffee to be served during a meal or at meal’s end.  

(The list above covers the basics. Perhaps you can think of some other uses for caffeine that have not been touched on in this overview.)


Coffee originated in tropical Africa (specifically Ethiopia), Reunion, Mauritius and Comoros.

It is derived from Coffee Beans. These beans are the seeds of Coffea plant berries. When found by explorers from distant lands, these seeds were exported to other countries from Africa. Today, there are 70 countries that cultivate coffee grinds that are native to their lands. Over the course of centuries, these plants have evolved to the respective environments of the soils that they utilize for their nourishment. This has given rise to coffee that tastes distinctly different from the coffee grown in other areas of the world. 

There is no known official date for the discovery of coffee. We only know when the first evidence of coffee drinking emerged.

The earliest concrete evidence of coffee drinking comes from the country of Yemen. In the Arabia of the mid-15 th century the roasting of coffee seeds and the brewing technique were developed. Over the course of the next century, Yemeni traders had succeeded in bringing coffee to the Middle East. After the drink became popular in Middle Eastern countries, it made its’ trek into Europe and on to the rest of the world.

Internationally, coffee is a big deal. It is a premier world commodity. For many countries, it is their number one agricultural export. For developing nations that export coffee, the trade is of crucial value. Unroasted coffee is a world-class agricultural commodity. Due to the importance of coffee in the world, numerous international laws and trade agreements have been developed to regulate the market.

Effect on teeth

The coffee revolution that was sparked 500 years ago is responsible for untold feats of human productivity. Coffee has a preponderance of health benefits. However, like anything else, consuming too much of this drink comes with downfalls. Some people are addicted to caffeine. They suffer bouts of withdrawal when they have not had their daily dose of coffee.

The most common negative outcome of drinking coffee is the effect that it has on the teeth of regular drinkers.

Coffee is acidic. Like any acidic food or drink, consistent exposure to the high levels of acid that it contains will ultimately degrade the appearance and health of your teeth. Though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it is a porous material. As such, continued coffee drinking allows trace quantities of acid to interact with the surface below the enamel. Continued encounters with these acids can lead to tooth decay.

Additionally, it has been very well documented that coffee stains teeth. It is unfortunate that a drink that can brighten up your day will also dim your smile.

One solution to this is to moderate your consumption of coffee. If you are an avid coffee drinker, then moderation is not an option. Fortunately, there are some methods that you can use to combat the prospect of stained and decayed teeth.

  • In addition to a consistently optimal oral hygiene routine (which includes brushing, flossing and regular trips to your dentist) there is a step that you can take after you drink every cup of coffee that will help to limit the staining effects of coffee. When you are finished drinking your coffee, be certain to rinse your mouth out in the immediate aftermath of your last sip.
  • Drink your coffee through a straw. By doing this, you restrict the amount of coffee that comes into direct contact with your teeth. For the most part, the coffee will travel directly from the cup to the rear of your tongue.
  • Perform methods #1 and #2 for best results.

On balance, coffee is a great beverage. It has incredible mental and physical health benefits. It is also a mainstay in many societies. The coffee revolution shows no signs of slowing down. With careful attention paid to your oral care, you can enjoy coffee for the rest of your life while minimizing the potentially negative effects that it can have on your teeth. 

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