From the diary of a coffee convert: Just say no.

Contrary to what you might hear about me, I’m not a coffee hater.

For 44.5 years this was not the case; I despised everything about the so-called ground goodness.  The aroma, people’s coffee breath, the  cult-following, coffee spills in my car (when transporting it for others) — it just left me cold.

Since age 5, when my Grandmom Jennie gave me one teaspoonful of the bitter blend, there was no convincing me otherwise:  The stuff was awful.

In August, my colleague and friend Loriah introduced me to iced coffee in our company canteen (free until 11 a.m. daily, thanks Benco Dental.) I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but I decided to give the brew one last chance. As a mom of a busy toddler, maybe I just needed more caffeine in my day to keep up pace. Maybe it was a weak moment, or peer pressure.

Either way, I was hooked. Mostly on the hum, buzz and jolt – sorry, coffee, I still think you’re a bit bitter.

Here’s the rub — after 20 years as a print journalist where coffee is currency, I now work in the dental industry where, let’s just say, coffee is not always a reason to smile.

Consider the following from American Dental Association’s MouthHealthy.org website:

In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately too many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.

So, in honor of National Coffee Day tomorrow, Sept. 29, when everyone and their uncle is sharing a list of locales that will give you a complimentary cuppa, remember this: just say no.

There’s no going back once you jump on the bandwagon of this sorry swill. Stick to water, dailyflossers — and the natural buzz that comes from knowing your teeth are white and your breath is fresh.

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