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Coffee and Doughnuts: Disastrous Combo for Teeth?

You're late for work, skip breakfast, and during the commute, pick up a doughnut and cup of coffee and you're on your way. This common quick fix breakfast scenario can lengthen your time spent in the dental chair, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.

The sugars in doughnuts have been identified as a risk factor for gum inflammation and cavities. The Academy recently reported findings that compared the sugars found in plain doughnuts to sugars found in oatmeal cookies, and discovered that the sugars in oatmeal cookies amount to only one-fifth of the sugars in plain doughnut particles.

The amount of sugar and cream in your coffee also can have a direct effect on the amount of cavity-causing bacteria. Tannins found in coffee etch into the pits and grooves of the tooth enamel, producing a rough stained surface.

What can someone do to lessen the breakfast sugar bath their teeth receive from this breakfast combination?

"Don't nurse your coffee or pick at that doughnut throughout the morning," says Paul Bussman, DMD, FAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. "When you eat your doughnut quickly, it limits the exposure time to the sugar bacteria attack."

"Also, cut back on the amount of cream and sugar for your coffee," advises Dr. Bussman "Try picking up fruit or another morning meal substitute."