Caffeine. You can probably name items that this substance is found in: tea, coffee, cola – the list goes on. You also probably associate it with an energy pick-me-up and don’t consider it one of the healthiest aspects of your diet. Actually, there is a lot more to caffeine than just these associations and  it’s important to have full knowledge so that you can make an informed choice about the extent to which you incorporate it into your diet.

One fact that may surprise you is that decaffeinated drinks are not necessarily free from caffeine. They have been processed to contain much less caffeine than before but may still have a little – so if you imbue a host of decaffeinated drinks, you still run the risk of consuming as much caffeine as say, a regular cup of coffee. The NHS recommends that you have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day so checking labels is key in ensuring that you stay within this limit.

To really make a decision about your caffeine consumption, understanding its effects upon your body are key to making an informed choice. So, how does caffeine affect you?

Drinks containing caffeine are often popular because they can help us stay alert or lessen drowsiness. However, their lesser-known side effects are less attractive. Some people like to avoid caffeine before bed as they feel it makes getting to sleep difficult. Caffeinated drinks may act as diuretics, making you pass water more often. Caffeinated drinks are also unlikely to be a friend to your teeth. Tea, coffee and cola may stain your teeth, leaving them a yellow or brown colour. Using a straw is a way of avoiding this – but only really an option for soft drinks!

If you are worried about the effect of caffeine on your teeth, it’s worth booking an appointment to see your dentist. The host of stain removal and whitening treatments available mean that there is a strong chance that your teeth can be restored to a gleaming and whiter state. In the meantime, if you are consuming caffeine then try to ensure to stick to the NHS guidelines and know that you are doing your best to take care of your body.

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