Everyone has their own morning routine, but it’s safe to say that for the majority of people, the day begins with a steaming cup of coffee. However, dentists recommend waiting until after you’ve brushed your teeth before eating.
Regarding its effect on the teeth, coffee has a less-than-stellar reputation. According to Healthline, coffee is notorious for discolouring and yellowing teeth. Tannins, which are also present in wine and tea, are responsible for coffee’s staining properties because they cause pigments to adhere to your teeth. Additionally, coffee may promote bacterial growth, leading to tooth decay and loss of enamel.
In light of the foregoing, you might conclude that the best course of action is to brush your teeth after drinking coffee in the morning. However, as counterintuitive as it may sound, this may exacerbate the negative effects of coffee.
According to Huffington Post, brushing your teeth after consuming coffee can eventually cause tooth damage. According to dentist Christina Meiners of the San Antonio-based non-profit CommuniCare Health Centers, coffee can adhere to plaque buildup in the mouth. Therefore, you should brush your teeth and remove the plaque prior to drinking coffee. “There will be less surface area for [coffee] to grab onto your teeth or adhere to,” Meiners said.
Additionally, it is essential to note that coffee is acidic, and when consumed, it creates an acidic environment in the mouth, according to Parade. Acidity can weaken and break down enamel, so by brushing your teeth after drinking coffee, you are actually applying more acid to your teeth, explains the source.
If you want your mouth to feel sparkling clean again after drinking coffee, you can always rinse thoroughly with warm water (or floss!). Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani, DDS, of Costello Family Dentistry, advised Parade, “Drink lots of water throughout the day for your health regardless, but especially after coffee, as it can help wash away some of the acidity you feel in your mouth.”
Infrequently drinking coffee before brushing your teeth will not cause significant problems. However, in these instances, you may want to wait about 30 minutes after finishing your beverage before brushing; according to HuffPost, this is roughly how long it takes for your saliva to neutralise the pH in your mouth.