For coffee lovers, the morning routine is a sacred ritual. But you may not be aware that the order in which you perform it is likely to adversely affect your dental health.
Coffee is known to stain teeth and acidity risk of eroding the enamel. It is therefore important to brush your teeth to counter its effects. But according to dentists, there is an order to follow, and you may not.
Why it is better to brush your teeth before you drink your coffee.
This removes plaque buildup and makes it harder for stains to adhere, says Christina Meiners, a dentist at a San Antonio dispensary. “If your teeth are clean, the coffee won’t find anything to cling to,” she says.
One would be tempted to think that brushing your teeth after the coffee is a proactive measure to keep them clean; however, this risks worsening the situation. As coffee is acidic, washing your teeth immediately afterwards weakens the enamel, the surface of the teeth that protects them from physical and chemical attack.
Christina Meiners’ morning routine involves brushing your teeth first before drinking her coffee and rinsing your mouth with water to neutralize the acidity level in her mouth. “You shouldn’t brush your teeth in an acidic environment, it’s chemically abrasive,” says Sonya Krasilnikov, who practices in a New York dental office.
According to Christina Meiners, doing this is equivalent to “spreading more acid on your teeth, which can lead to deterioration more quickly and make them more sensitive.” If you happen to do it every now and then, don’t panic. “If it happens once, it will just be a micro-abrasion, nothing serious. On the other hand, if it is usual, you will wear out your enamel, ”says Siama Muhammad, of the Brooklyn Oak dental practice.
If you haven’t brushed your teeth before drinking your coffee, take these steps to protect them
If you need that feeling of having a cool mouth after drinking your coffee, dentists advise you to wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth. “Saliva neutralizes the pH of the mouth,” Sonya Krasilnikov explains, “In half an hour, she regains her healthy state. You can then brush your teeth in complete safety. Usually, half an hour is enough ”
Another solution: chewing gum without sugar, ”I recommend at least chewing it to stimulate your natural protection: your saliva. It will act as a buffer in this acidic environment,” Christina Meiners emphasizes.
She recommends xylitol chewing gum because it’s a low-calorie sugar substitute that stops bacteria from growing.
And while you wait to brush your teeth, you can still get rid of the taste of the coffee. “I would just do a good rinsing with water,” says Siamma Muhammad, noting that flossing after rinsing would be ideal, “It can really help you have a cleaner mouth and freshen your breath”.