Dental experts weigh in on how to order your morning routine.

If you're like most people, grabbing a cup of coffee is an essential part of your morning routine. Whether you prefer the beloved drink served hot or cold, accompanied with sugars and creams, or as is, there's one thing you'll want do before sipping your cup of joe: brush your teeth. According to Christina Meiners, a dentist at the nonprofit CommuniCare Health Centers, you should actually be brushing your teeth before drinking coffee, as doing so will allow stains to lift easier. "If you keep it nice and clean, then there's less for [coffee] to grab onto your teeth or adhere to," she told the Huffington Post.

woman applying toothpaste to toothbrush
Credit: Getty Images / Sellwell

The acidity from the drink actually makes your enamel (the protective outer layer of your teeth) more vulnerable to damage when you brush after having coffee. So, instead of brushing again, Meiners said you should simply rinse your mouth out with water after finishing your coffee. She adds that "you're brushing more acid onto your teeth, and that can actually cause them to break down faster, cause more sensitivities" when you clean your teeth after having coffee.

If it slips your mind and you do end up brushing your teeth after enjoying your coffee, it won't cause substantial changes to the health of your teeth. "If you do it once, it's probably just a micro-abrasion, so once is OK. But yes, if it's habitually done, it's going to be a chronic thing where you're wearing away your enamel," Siama Muhammad, a dentist at Brooklyn Oak Dental Care, shared.

For those who still want to brush their teeth after finishing their morning coffee, experts say to wait at least 30 minutes before giving your teeth a cleaning. "Your saliva neutralizes your pH in your mouth," Sonya Krasilnikov, a dentist at New York City's Dental House, said. "In a half-hour your mouth is back to its healthy state where... the pH should be in your mouth, and brushing and everything else is perfectly safe." Otherwise, flossing, giving your teeth a solid rinse with water, and even chewing sugar-free gum (preferably with xylitol to avoid bacteria buildup) can give your teeth a fresh sensation. "I recommend at least chewing on some sugar-free gum to stimulate your natural protector, which is your own saliva. It acts as a buffer in that acidic environment," Meiners said.

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
September 5, 2021
Hello M.S.L. what about mouthwash? Should we be using mouthwash to rinse before or after coffee? Realize brushing before coffee helps to keep stain at minimum, but the rinsing should also be beneficial? Thank-you!! DRH
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