Your Caffeine Ritual Doesn’t Have to Be Bad for Your Teeth

Sep 10, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

For many of us, the thought of getting up without caffeine is enough to send us straight back to bed. Whether we have a drip coffeemaker brewing away before our alarm gets up or we fight traffic to get in the long line of cars at Starbucks, we need our caffeine to get up and to stay up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there’s some science to suggest that caffeine can have some health benefits, though reliance on it, especially in the afternoon, is a sign of sleep apnea risk.

But your caffeine habit can be very bad for your teeth. Energy drinks are full of sugar and are even more acidic than cokes. And, speaking of cokes, did you know that they’re killing you? Fortunately, you can make your morning jolt (and afternoon jolt, if you have one) tooth-friendly. Here are some alternatives that are healthier for your teeth.

Caffeine Ritual and Dental

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a more concentrated form of chocolate. While milk chocolate is more diluted with lactose and other sugars, dark chocolate gives us more of the positive nutrients with fewer things to induce decay on our teeth. But fewer doesn’t mean none, so this is not positive for your teeth, just less negative than a soda or energy drink. On the other hand, chocolate might help treat TMJ, so that’s a good thing, right?

Energy Gum

Caffeinated energy gums were initially developed for the military, but they’re becoming a popular product in our culture where everybody seems to need more energy to keep up with the constantly-accelerating pace of life. Chewing gums have been proven to remove bacteria from your teeth, but energy gums contain sugar, so, at best it’s a wash, and, more likely, this is still not good for your teeth–just not as bad as sodas or energy drinks.

Black Coffee

Coffee is a good option for getting caffeine that doesn’t have to be bad for your teeth. A home brewed cup of black coffee has a relatively neutral pH, no sugars, and can actually reduce your risk of gum disease.

But while some of us may drink it black, many of us go the other way. If your caffeine habit includes a stop at Starbucks, take a moment to reconsider your order: some Starbucks drinks contain the equivalent of 20 teaspoons of sugar! The only real disadvantage of black coffee is that it can stain your teeth, but that’s what teeth whitening is for–and milk partly cancels out the effect.


We’ve talked before about how tea is good for your teeth, and it remains the most tooth-friendly source of caffeine you can get. Whether it’s black or green tea, it’s best when you brew it yourself, and make sure there’s no sugar added. A twist of lemon will lower the pH slightly, but not enough to be worrisome.

The only complaint some people might have about tea is that it might not have enough caffeine. But if you’re finding yourself in this situation, maybe it’s time you cut back a little, anyway. All things in moderation, even caffeine.

If your previous caffeine habit contributed to tooth damage and you’re looking for a Grapevine dentist to help with restorative dentistry or just a routine checkup, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment at Grapevine Dental Care today.