3 Ways To Make Your Coffee Habit Less Harmful To Your Teeth

If you love your daily cup (or five) of coffee, chances are, your teeth will eventually suffer as a result. Coffee is high in acid, which can slowly erode your tooth enamel and increase your risk of cavities. If you load it up with sugar or sugary creamer products, then there's the added worry that you're feeding oral bacteria, which can lead to even more decay. And who could overlook coffee's staining effect! While the best solution is probably to give up your coffee and drink water instead, there are some ways to make your coffee habit less harmful to your teeth, rather than giving it up entirely.

Drink it through a straw.

When you drink a liquid through a straw, it is deposited further back on your tongue rather than coming into direct contact with your front teeth. This means less acid and sugar exposure for your teeth, and a lower risk of cavities. It also reduces the amount of staining you'll experience. Make sure your coffee is cooled to a comfortable temperature before sipping it through the straw – when you drink it in this way, it's more likely to burn your delicate tongue when it's too hot.

Choose dark roast coffee.

The darker coffee is roasted, the less acidic it becomes. Choose dark roast, also known as French roast coffee, rather than a light or city roast coffee. You'll be exposing your teeth to less acid and reducing your risk of decay. Keep in mind that different coffees from various regions and brands taste different. If you try one dark roast coffee and don't like it, give a few more brands a try – you'll likely find one that you enjoy.

Switch to stevia extract.

If you're able to adapt to drinking your coffee black and unsweetened, then that's great. Most people, however, do not like the bitter taste of unsweetened coffee. There are a number of artificial sweeteners out there that will sweeten your coffee without harming your teeth – aspartame and sucralose are among them – but these artificial sweeteners cause unwanted side effects in many people. A safer sweetener to use is called stevia extract. It comes in both liquid and powder forms, and it is extracted from a natural herb. A little bit of stevia will make your coffee so much more enjoyable without feeding oral bacteria.

If you can't give up your coffee habit, at least make the changes above. Your teeth (and your dentist) will thank you.