What do drinking coffee and eating garlic have in common? They both make your breath smell bad, but at least with garlic, you also get the benefit of protection from vampires. In fairness to coffee, it will keep you awake so the vampire doesn’t sneak up on you. Okay, enough with the supernatural. In this blog post, your dentist in Denton explains what causes coffee breath, as well as how to get rid of it and even avoid having it in the first place.
How Does Coffee Affect My Breath?
When the beans are roasted, sulfur-containing aroma compounds form. Along with the acid content in coffee, these compounds can produce bad breath. The beverage also causes dry mouth, which can worsen bad breath. Coffee-induced dry mouth is produced in part by caffeine, which is slightly dehydrating.
Tannins, a molecule found in coffee, are another culprit that makes your mouth feel parched. In your mouth, tannins bind to your proteins in saliva, inhibiting its production. When bacteria remain in your mouth, they proliferate and release volatile sulfur compounds, a root cause of bad breath.
Tips for Getting Rid of Coffee Breath
For whatever reason, maybe stopping your coffee consumption is not an option. Check out these suggestions to eliminate coffee breath:
- Brush your teeth right after drinking coffee
- Brush with toothpaste that contains zinc or clove oil
- Keep sugar-free breath mints handy
- Chew sugarless gum
- Gargle with mouthwash after drinking coffee
- Chew on fresh parsley
- Drink a large glass of water
How Do I Sidestep Coffee Breath in the First Place?
Besides not having coffee at all, drinking it black is better for your breath as opposed to using a lot of add-ins. Don’t add milk or sugar. If you must incorporate flavoring, try stirring your coffee with a cinnamon stick or vanilla bean.
Sugar substitutes may be an option as well. Skim milk contains more sugar than whole milk or half and half, so they are the lesser of evils if you must call upon dairy.
Alternatives to Drinking Coffee
If you are open to pivoting away from coffee while still putting pep in your step, fortunately, you have some options:
- High-caffeine black tea or chai tea
- Caffeine-free chicory root coffee
- Yerba mate (caffeinated herbal tea)
The sulfuric and acidic compounds in coffee, as well as the tannins, are the reasons it is taking a toll on your breath. Whether you step up your oral hygiene habits or switch to a different beverage, it’s just a matter of adjusting to find out what works best for you. Well, be sure and prioritize oral hygiene regardless.
About the Author
Dr. Todd Balington earned his dental doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. He has been working hard for the smiles of his patients since 2006. Dr. Balington may have further tips to share on conquering coffee breath during your next checkup and cleaning. You can schedule one on his website or call (940) 383-3300.