Does Coffee Cause Cavities?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 26th, 2023

Do you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea each day? Are you worried about the potential effect of caffeine on your teeth? If so, then this blog post is for you! We’ll explore whether caffeine causes cavities and what steps you can take to protect your teeth.

How coffee affects tooth decay

Coffee accelerates the decay process by lowering the pH levels in the mouth, making it more hospitable for bacteria that cause cavities. Coffee can also contribute to bad breath due to its thick scent and ability to interact with saliva production. 

model of a tooth at the shows the patient a tooth.reception in the dentist's office

Additionally, coffee can stain teeth if consumed regularly or without proper preventive measures. 

What causes cavities

The role of bacteria

Studies show that bacteria play a major role in tooth decay. Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) is one of the most commonly found bacteria that can cause cavities. 

Coffee made from roasted coffee beans has been found to have antibacterial activities against this type of bacteria, which makes it a potential tool for preventing tooth decay. 

Added sugars, creams, and tannins

Studies have shown that organic compounds called tannins are found in coffee and tea, and when they have a chance to build up, they can stain the teeth. 

Coffee often gets a bad reputation for harming teeth due to its tannins and the heavy amounts of sugar and creamer added to this concoction. Acids erode tooth enamel, and unfortunately, coffee is acidic. Drinking a lot of coffee over time can negatively affect tooth enamel and increase the bacteria that cause cavities. 

Coffee and enamel erosion

Coffee affects the color of your tooth enamel and can erode it. Excessive consumption of this caffeinated beverage can cause enamel erosion, which is when the acid in coffee breaks down the minerals on the surface of your teeth. This can leave your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria, decay, and cavities. 

Caffeine’s effects on saliva production

Caffeine significantly affects saliva production, as it can reduce the amount of saliva produced by the mouth. This decrease in saliva production is because caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it increases the rate of urination and removes water from the body. 

Since saliva is mostly composed of water, this decrease in saliva can increase the risk of cavities, as saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria from the teeth. 

Additionally, reduced salivary flow can cause dry mouth, which may worsen the effects of plaque buildup and tooth decay. 

Coffee and plaque buildup

Coffee consumption can lead to plaque buildup on your teeth, contributing to tooth decay. Studies show that plaque is a sticky film that forms on the surfaces of your teeth and can trap bacteria. 

Sugars, starches, and acids in foods and drinks, including coffee cause plaque buildup.

drinking coffee

Preventative measures to reduce risk

Taking preventative measures to reduce the risk of tooth decay when drinking coffee is important.

Consume sugar-free products

Consuming sugar-free products like coffee and tea, rather than their sugary counterparts, is a great way to reduce the risk of tooth decay, as it limits the number of harmful sugars that accumulate in your mouth. 

Sugar-free drinks, such as coffee and tea, contain fewer acids that can erode enamel and weaken the teeth. Studies show that xylitol is a sugar substitute that can help prevent cavities since bacteria do not break it down like sugar. 

Drink water after coffee consumption

Having discussed the various ways coffee can affect tooth decay, it’s important to mention the importance of drinking water after coffee. Water helps dilute coffee’s acidity and helps wash away any residue that may remain in the mouth. 

Furthermore, water can help to rehydrate the mouth after drinking coffee, as caffeine is a diuretic. Dehydration can lead to further dental problems such as bacteria buildup, enamel erosion, and increased cavities. 


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.