The bad news is that all three of our favorite beverages cause dental stains, which can become severe and difficult to remove if you imbibe too much every day. However, do coffee, tea, and red wine offer any benefits for your dental health to make up for the murky smile?
The answer is — yes, no, and maybe. Confused? Let’s investigate!
Coffee has been shown to have some positive effects on your teeth because it’s high in polyphenols, which helps destroy oral bacteria. However, this is only true if you drink your coffee black: milk or sugar will block the effects. You’ll also want to keep your intake to one or two cups of coffee a day. Not only will a hefty coffee addiction make your teeth look dingy, the acidity in the drink can also degrade your enamel over time, making your teeth weak and even more susceptible to bacteria and cavities.
Black tea has been shown to prevent cavities by destroying two different types of oral bacteria and preventing bacteria from adhering to the teeth. However, black tea will stain your teeth more readily than any other kind of tea. You’ll also need to drink 3-4 cups per day to get the dental-friendly benefits, which might be a lot for some people. Unlike coffee, however, black tea isn’t acidic and won’t harm your enamel even if you down cup after cup.
Green tea has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the gums and can also prevent the adhesion of bacteria. Studies have shown that even as little as 1 cup of green tea per day can bring you these benefits. However, other studies have shown that the wider variety of health benefits that come from green tea requires 3-4 cups per day. Just be careful to avoid bottled teas or sweetened tea drinks, as they often have citric acid added that will wear away at the enamel, not to mention cavity-causing sugar.
There are conflicting reports on whether or not red wine prevents cavities. Some scientists have found that compounds in red wine can prevent the growth of bacteria, but others have found red wine to have no effect on bacteria propagation. On the plus side, red wine has a lot of antioxidants, which can help your overall health and well-being. It’s also less acidic than coffee and white wine, so your enamel won’t get as damaged. If you’re looking for dental benefits, though, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
Overall, tea comes in as the winner as far as dental health benefits are concerned, followed by coffee and then red wine. Remember, no beverage is a substitute for brushing and flossing every day, which is the only way to truly keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. Curious about any other food or drinks that might help your dental health? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll explore it in a post!