Why It's Better To Brush Your Teeth Before Drinking Coffee

Everyone has their own morning routine — but it's safe to say that for many people, that routine starts with a hot cup of coffee. However, according to dentists, you may want to hold off until after you've brushed your teeth.

Coffee has a not-so-great reputation when it comes to its effect on your teeth. As Healthline reports, coffee is notorious for its ability to leave teeth yellowed and stained. Tannins — also found in wine and tea — are the ingredient responsible for coffee's staining properties, as it prompts pigments to adhere to your teeth. Additionally, coffee has the potential to promote bacterial growth, resulting in tooth decay and enamel loss.

With all of that said, you might assume that the best course of action is to brush your teeth after indulging in your morning cup of joe. But as counterintuitive as it may sound, that may only intensify coffee's negative effects.

What brushing can do to teeth after you drink coffee

According to HuffPost, brushing your teeth after drinking coffee can contribute to tooth damage over time. As dentist Christina Meiners (from the San Antonio nonprofit CommuniCare Health Centers) explained to the publication, coffee is able to adhere to plaque buildup in your mouth. Therefore, you'll want to brush your teeth and remove that plaque before having any coffee. "If you keep it nice and clean, then there's less for [coffee] to grab onto your teeth or adhere to," Meiners said.

Additionally, it's important to note that coffee is acidic — and when you drink it, it creates an acidic environment in your mouth, per Parade. Acidity can weaken and break down enamel, which means that by brushing after drinking coffee, you're actually pushing all of that acid further onto your teeth, the outlet explains.

If, after you finish your coffee, you want your mouth to feel sparkling clean again, you can always thoroughly rinse with warm water (and even floss!). Speaking with Parade, Dr. Shahrooz Yazdani, DDS, of Costello Family Dentistry, advised, "Drink lots of [water] throughout the day for your health either way, but especially after coffee, it can help wash away some of that acidity you feel in your mouth."

Occasionally drinking your coffee before brushing your teeth won't cause any major problems. However, in those cases, you may want to consider waiting about 30 minutes after you finish your drink before brushing; as noted by HuffPost, that's about how long it takes for your saliva to neutralize your mouth's pH.