Coffee Breath


            Before coming to Penn State University I worked at Wawa back home and enjoyed having a nice cup of coffee from there especially on those early morning shifts. The only problem with drinking coffee though is that it seems to give coffee breath to its drinkers. I now sit here tired wishing I had some of that nice warm Wawa coffee to keep me going but non the less pondering why we get that coffee breath.

Coffee Breath

            I decided to first look at the article "Can Drinking Better Coffee Cure Your Coffee Breath?" The article states "Coffee has sulfur compounds that create a bad smell when combined with the chemistry of our mouths". So essentially there is a chemical reaction between your mouth and the sulfur compounds inside of the coffee that causes it to be part of the reason for having the bad breath.

I decided to see if anyone else shared this reasoning. I came across ABC's article "Coffee breath: Would you like your coffee with or without the bad breath?" by Brett Williamson who talked to registered nurse Justyna Trzesniowski "Coffee as such, if it is black, should not cause any bad breath". She goes to say that "Quite often we are having coffee with sugar and milk and we are living a very busy life, so quite often we will have a coffee in the morning and before you realise it it's already 10 or 11 o'clock and you've forgotten to have a drink in between or something to eat". So she is essentially saying that the coffee itself should not be doing anything to cause the bad breath but it is a result of all of the additives that people add to their coffee that causes the bad breath. Another factor that kind of contributes to both is that the coffee going down by itself with nothing else inside of your stomach is reacting with all of your stomach acids and causes the coffee breath smell.

Both articles then state that coffee is a dehydrator, which could be another reason why you have the bad coffee breath. According to the article by Mr. Williamson, coffee is "a diuretic ... it will make you feel very thirsty, because progressively you are getting dehydrated. The dryness then contributes to the growth of the bacteria that causes you to have bad breath. The dryness can also cause you to have less saliva, which is necessary to wash away the bacteria and the bad breath, the milk, sugar or whatever else you may have added that now contributes to the bad breath.

bad breath

I wanted to see if I could then find ways to make it so that you could have better breath so I decided to look at the article "How to Get Rid of Coffee Breath" to make a list of things to do to get rid of coffee breath.

1)    Brush your teeth, this will get rid of the bacteria and anything else in your teeth

2)    Gargle with mouthwash, this will get rid of the bacteria that accumulates in your oral cavities

3)    Drink water, it will loosen the coffee particles in your mouth

4)    Chew a mint

5)    Switch to tea, it's just as good and doesn't ruin your teeth, it also supposedly neutralizes bad breath because it isn't very acidic

Hopefully with this list you will be able to avoid having coffee breath in the morning. 


I really never thought of coffee as a something that dehydrates you. So many people consume coffee in large quantities daily before work or school. Is there also something further about this similarity between 2 things that dehydrate you but are both addicting: caffeine and alcohol? They have qualities that are similar, should this be looked into further?

I've never been a coffee drinker and I don't think I ever will be. The taste just doesn't sit well with me, but I've also never noticed coffee breath on someone. As gross as it sounds, I'm curious what coffee breath is like. I've had various drinks from Starbucks but none of which have given me awful breath in the morning. Also, hearing that it dehydrates you turns me off to ever trying to like coffee. I think I'll stick to getting my caffeine fix from soda and chocolate!

I agree with Michael- that was the first think that I thought of. If coffee is dehydrating (something I never knew- now I know I shouldnt drink iced coffee when thirsty) maybe that is the cause of bad breath. When people drink alcohol they get "beer breath, and perhaps beer breath and coffee breath are associated. I think it's very possible that this is what it could be, as I have never heard of sweeteners or milk giving anyone bad breath, and if they did, a lot of us would always have awful breath.

Emily makes a good point about the beer breath. I've also never heard of milk and sweetners causing bad breath. I never really thought of a reason for coffee breath, this is interesting that it has to do with how it reacts with our mouths. I just always knew I need to have gum on me when I drink coffee.

It makes sense to me that coffee additives would make your breath smell bad, especially milk. I don't know if you have ever smelled milk that has gone bad, but it smells horrendous. As the blog post says, lots of people drink coffee and then don't eat or drink anything else afterwards for a few hours. The milk additives in coffee would then be sitting in the person's mouth for an extended period of time, percolating and starting to smell horrible. I found an article online that supports this idea, as it says that black coffee itself should in fact, stave off bacteria that would cause odor in the mouth.

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