May 23, 2022
Many people enjoy a warm cup of coffee when they wake up in the morning. Although this can help energize you for the day, you may experience bad breath afterward. But how does a cup of joe cause this? Keep reading to learn why coffee breath occurs and how you can avoid it in the future!
How Does Coffee Cause Bad Breath?
Bad breath typically happens when food particles and liquids linger in your mouth. Without washing them away, this can cause bacteria to grow and create bad odors. This is especially the case with a cup of joe, which causes “coffee breath” in the following ways:
- Dry mouth: The caffeine in your coffee can cause your mouth to dry up, reducing your saliva production. This is crucial, as saliva naturally washes away bacteria. Having a dry mouth can allow germs to feed on leftover debris and cause bad breath.
- Cream & sugar can promote bacteria growth: Many people like to add some milk, cream, or sugar into their coffee. While this can make your drink sweeter, it can also encourage an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. When these natural microbes feed on protein particles, they often release volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which smell quite unpleasant. For this reason, the longer coffee remains on your tongue and teeth, the more sulfur gas you’ll produce.
- Consumed after brushing teeth: You’ve probably been told to brush your teeth twice daily, generally in the morning and before bed. But if you drink coffee for breakfast right after cleaning your mouth, you’ll allow the beverage to settle in your mouth for most of the day.
Ways to Avoid Coffee Breath
If you do enjoy a cup of joe, then you can practice the following methods to drink it while avoiding coffee breath:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste (a minty one for extra freshness).
- Floss thoroughly between your pearly whites.
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash.
- Drink water to keep your mouth moist and wash away debris and bacteria.
- Visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning, and advice on dietary and preventive dental care practices.
With these few tips, you can still drink your morning coffee while keeping your breath fresh throughout the day. You’ll also maintain cleaner and healthier teeth and gums in the process!
About the Author
Dr. Matt VanderMolen studied at the University of Illinois and has provided excellent and comprehensive dental care for over three decades. He is also a member of several groups like the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Chicago Dental Society. He regularly seeks continuing education so he can provide state-of-the-art dental treatments for his patients, including routine dental checkups and cleanings for a fresh smile. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, feel free to visit our website or call 217-546-3333.
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