The teenage years are where parents often notice their children starting to drink coffee.

Sometimes it’s to get going in the morning like their parents, and other times it’s from hanging out in coffee shops with friends throughout the day (casually or for study sessions).

Whatever the reason, there are a few hygiene effects to be aware of in terms of how coffee can affect your teenager’s teeth.

  1. Coffee can stain the teeth, same as it does in adults. Frequent coffee drinking can cause a yellowing or brownish color to build up on the teeth. This is mitigated by frequent brushing, but not all teenagers are good about doing that as their schedules fill up.
  2. The acidity of coffee (and other acidic foods/drinks) can wear away at tooth enamel. This, too, is mitigated by good hygiene habits, but can cause weakened teeth in those who aren’t diligent. Some people’s teeth are also more susceptible to cavities than others, and those teens may encounter greater consequences to frequent coffee habits than their classmates.
  3. Teens can also be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than adults, including the potential for increased anxiety or nervousness, diarrhea, and even dehydration. This is significant because adolescence is already a time where many kids feel anxiety about changes, and because meeting up with friends and having coffee in the afternoons can negatively affect sleep quality later in the evening.

Note that although these things are valid concerns in themselves, there is no scientific evidence to support that old saying that coffee stunts anyone’s growth.