After water, coffee is the most popular drink in the United States with over 50 percent of the population consuming it daily. But whether you enjoy a cup of black coffee to wake you up in the morning or an after-dinner cappuccino, coffee is one of the biggest culprits to yellow, stained teeth. Fortunately, you can prevent this unsightly yellowing! Dr. Hamby, a Fuquay Varina dentist, is sharing five tips to avoid coffee stains on your teeth or get rid of them if they’re already there.
Why Does Coffee Stain Your Teeth
The dark color of coffee alone isn’t enough for it to leave yellow discoloration on your teeth. However, the dark color is caused by tannins, natural compounds in the polyphenol family that are present in tree bark, leaves, and fruit. Tannins cause color compounds to adhere to materials, which is why they are often used to dye fabrics and natural colorants.
Unfortunately, the compounds that cause them to change fabric colors also cause your tooth enamel to gradually change colors, staining white teeth an unsightly yellow over time. Also, because coffee is acidic, it can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear or weaken, making your teeth more susceptible to staining.
How to Avoid Coffee Stains on Teeth
Now, let’s look at preventive measures to avoid coffee stains on teeth.
Reduce Your Intake
Instead of sipping two to three cups of coffee per day and continually exposing your teeth to staining tannins, consider reducing your intake. If you have to have your cup in the morning, maybe switch to green tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. Avoid black teas or colas as they also contain tooth-staining tannins.
Drink Iced Coffee Through a Straw
By drinking coffee through a straw, the beverage will often bypass the front teeth, reducing the enamel’s contact with tannins. Less contact means less staining!
Drink Water After Your Cup of Coffee
Drinking water after you drink coffee rinses the tannins off your teeth and minimizes the staining effect.
Reduce or Avoid Cream and Sugar
While cream and sugar may lighten the color of your coffee, they don’t actually reduce teeth staining tannins. Plus, the sugar in them feeds bacteria in the mouth which can also cause discoloration.
Brush Teeth 30 Minutes After Drinking Coffee
Brushing your teeth 30 minutes after drinking coffee gives them a chance to remineralize after exposure to the acidic substance but still scrubs away the tannins. You should also be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily to remove bacteria and plaque that can exacerbate tooth stains from coffee.
Snack on Apples or Celery
If you can’t brush your teeth, grab an apple or a celery stick. These crunchy snacks increase saliva and contain lots of water that rinses your teeth, plus the fiber in them has a scrubbing effect that removes plaque, tannins, and other particles.
How to Whiten Coffee Stained Teeth
If you already have some tooth yellowing or staining due to your coffee habit, don’t worry, you can restore your bright, healthy smile more easily than you think!
Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste uses baking soda and a peroxide cleaner that safely and effectively breaks down the stains on your enamel. Just be sure to use an ADA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride to protect your teeth and minimize the risk of cavities, decay, and gum disease.
Have Your Teeth Professionally Whitened
To restore a beautiful, white smile and erase years of coffee stains from your teeth, professional teeth whitening may be the best solution. We use a powerful, peroxide-based agent that penetrates the enamel to break down stains effectively in just 45 minutes.
Schedule a Teeth Whitening Appointment in Fuquay Varina
We want you to feel confident when you smile, instead of self-conscious. Schedule an appointment at our family dental center today by calling us at 919-552-2431 or filling out the form below to get started.