What Is Coffee Breath? How to Get Rid of It?

When coffee beans are roasted, they form sulfur-containing compounds, which can result in bad breath. 

Coffee also causes dehydration in the mouth, which results in less saliva to wash away oral bacteria, which further adds to bad breath. 

Is it possible to get rid of coffee breath?  Yes, absolutely!  Read this blog post to know how.

What Causes Coffee Breath?

Coffee breath is the unpleasant smell of breath following the consumption of coffee.  You may not realize that your breath feels bad, but others can tell. 

If you can’t function without a big cup of coffee, you need to be concerned about coffee breath.  You certainly wouldn’t want people avoiding talking to you because of bad breath!

Before moving on to how you can get rid of coffee breath, let’s first understand what causes it.

Roasting Coffee Produces Sulfur-Containing Compounds

The coffee you consume isn’t raw.  The beans are roasted to bring out the flavor and aroma locked inside.  This process results in the formation of sulfur-containing compounds (known for the rotten egg smell).

These compounds, along with other acidic compounds present in coffee beans, produce bad breath. 

Caffeine Causes Dehydration of Mouth

Another reason why consuming coffee causes coffee (bad) breath is the fact that it causes dry mouth.  Coffee contains significant quantities of caffeine, which is partly to blame for coffee-induced dry mouth. 

A dry mouth is a condition where not enough saliva is produced in the mouth.  Salvia is needed to wash harmful oral bacteria away.  With insufficient saliva, these bacteria stay in the mouth for longer.  The result is bad breath.

Tannins Inhibit Saliva Production

That isn’t all.  There’s one more factor that causes coffee breath.  Coffee also contains tannins.  Consuming coffee causes dry mouth, as we’ve already explained earlier. 

This property of coffee that makes your mouth feel dry is called astringency and it’s because of tannins.  Tannins are yet another culprit that makes your breath smell bad!

Tannins bind to proteins present in saliva and inhibit its production.  Saliva is needed to wash away any bacteria, debris, and food.  With saliva production inhibited, your mouth isn’t washed. 

The bacteria proliferate in your mouth and release sulfur compounds, the primary cause of coffee-induced bad breath.

Coffee Lowers the pH of the Mouth

Coffee contains numerous acidic compounds.  The high acidity of coffee lowers the pH of the mouth, which promotes the growth of bacteria. 

These bacteria feed on protein particles and release volatile sulfur compounds (sulfur gas).  As we’ve already explained earlier, sulfur gas smells of rotten eggs.  Therefore, your breath smells bad. 

Getting Rid of Coffee Breath

If you are a coffee lover, the chances that you’ll have coffee breath are high.  If you don’t address the problem of coffee breath, your breath will start putting people off.  Bad breath is a major turn-off!

Let’s look at the many ways you can get rid of coffee breath and ensure pleasant-smelling breath. 

Use Toothpaste Containing Stannous Fluoride

All coffee drinkers should switch to toothpaste containing stannous fluoride instead of toothpaste with regular fluoride. 

Although regular fluoride (sodium fluoride) helps strengthen enamel and helps prevent cavities, it doesn’t offer protection against bacteria.

Stannous fluoride has antibacterial properties, which fight off bacteria in the mouth.  As you already know by now, bacteria produce sulfur compounds, which is the major reason for bad breath in coffee drinkers. 

Floss Regularly

Flossing is extremely important for everyone, but even more so for people who consume coffee regularly.  Brushing teeth removes most of the food particles that stick to the teeth, but brushing alone isn’t enough. 

Flossing ensures that food particles stuck between teeth where the bristles of your toothbrush may not reach are also removed. There won’t be anything for the bacteria to feed on when there are no food particles.

It also removes bad-breath-causing bacteria more efficiently than brushing alone. 

So, if you don’t floss regularly, it’s high time you start!

Drink Water

One of the major reasons why consuming coffee causes bad breath is the fact that caffeine dehydrates the mouth, and tannins inhibit saliva production.  This results in a dry mouth. 

Dry mouth conditions are ideal for harmful bacteria as they don’t get washed out. 

One way to ensure your breath doesn’t smell bad is to drink water after you consume coffee.  This will keep your mouth hydrated and also wash away the bacteria and food particles. 

Keep a Toothbrush in Your Bag

If you drink several cups of coffee at work, keep a toothbrush in your bag and brush your teeth after every meal. 

Harmful bacteria are already thriving in your mouth due to less saliva, and if you don’t brush your teeth after meals, they’ll get lots of food particles to feed on and produce sulfur. 

Brushing teeth after meals while at work will wash away harmful bacteria and food particles in the mouth and help prevent coffee breath. 

Eat Yogurt

Eating yogurt can also help get rid of coffee breath.  Research suggests that yogurt contains good bacteria, which can combat bad bacteria in your mouth and prevent coffee breath.

Make it a habit to add yogurt to your routine so that bad bacteria in your mouth don’t stand a chance to thrive in the first place. 

Add Green Tea to Your Routine

For someone who survives on coffee, it’s hard to drink any other drink.  Try to incorporate green tea into your routine, no matter how hard you find it. 

Green tea helps you get rid of the sulfur produced in the mouth.  It also stimulates saliva production.  Both of these create unfavorable conditions for bad bacteria and help you get rid of coffee breath.

Use an Alcohol-Free Mouthwash 

Alcohol-free mouthwashes can help you get rid of coffee breath efficiently.  They help you maintain the natural balance of saliva. 

All the bacteria will be readily flushed out with the correct saliva balance.  Not only that, it’ll also strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent cavities. 

Chew Sugarless Gum

Coffee causes dry mouth due to the presence of caffeine and tannins, which causes coffee breath.  One way to get rid of coffee breath is by chewing sugarless gum.

Chewing sugarless gum will promote saliva production.  The more saliva, the more readily bacteria, and food particles will be flushed out of your mouth.  This would lower the chances of bad breath. 

Brush Your Tongue

Did you know your tongue can harbor bad bacteria too?  You may be brushing your teeth regularly, but if you don’t brush your teeth, bad bacteria, and food particles on the tongue may continue to produce bad breath. 

It’s important that you brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth so that your mouth is absolutely clean of bad bacteria and food particles. 

How to Avoid Coffee Breath

There are ways you can avoid coffee breath altogether.  Let’s look at some ways you can do it.

Don’t Add Milk and Sugar to Your Coffee

If you like your coffee milky and sweet, you’re at a high risk of getting a coffee breath.  One of the most effective ways of avoiding bad breath due to coffee is drinking coffee without milk or sugar. 

Bacteria love sugar.  Milk contains natural sugars, and when you add more sugar on top of milk, bacteria get lots of sugar to feast on.  This means lots of sulfur will be produced, and your breath will smell bad!

Drinking black coffee can help you avoid coffee breath.  But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about maintaining oral hygiene if you’re drinking black coffee. 

Remember, black coffee still contains caffeine and tannins.  The risk of coffee breath is still there!

Switch to Alternate Options

This option isn’t easy, but definitely worth it.  Avoiding coffee will prevent bad breath altogether.  Switching to alternate options that satisfy your caffeine craving is a great option. 

Some alternatives that you can consider include high-caffeine black tea, caffeinated herbal tea, etc.  These alternates will satisfy your urge to consume caffeine and also ensure your breath doesn’t smell bad. 

Closing Word

Only coffee lovers know what coffee means to them. 

It may be easy for a non-coffee drinker to suggest cutting down on coffee consumption to address the coffee breath problem, but only a coffee lover would know the struggle. 

If you can’t function without coffee, you need to address the problem actively.  There’s so much you can do to get rid of coffee breath.  In all honesty, none of the options are too difficult.

Brushing and flossing your teeth is something everyone should do regularly, not just coffee drinkers.  Drinking water after having a cup of coffee requires no extra effort. 

If you still experience the coffee breath, you’re definitely not maintaining your oral hygiene right.  Maintaining good oral hygiene solves most of your problems!

You don’t have to give up on coffee to get rid of coffee breath.  All you need to do is maintain good oral hygiene (for starters) actively!

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