You love your coffee, but you probably don’t love the staining that comes with drinking it. There’s probably no way you can give up your morning cuppa joe, and who really wants to? The good news – you can take a few measures to protect teeth from coffee stains without giving up your morning pick-me-up.
First, you may be wondering why coffee causes stains. The enamel of your teeth, that hard outer coating, actually has microscopic gaps in it. If drink particles, such as those from your coffee, get stuck in the gaps, it causes an extrinsic stain, which leads to the outer part of the tooth being discolored. However, if particles stay in the gaps, over time they begin affecting deeper layers of the teeth, resulting in intrinsic stains that are much tougher to eliminate.
Here are a few tips you can follow to make sure you’re protecting your teeth against coffee stains so you can still indulge in your favorite brew.
Tip #1 – Begin Drinking Through a Straw
Minimizing the contact coffee has with your teeth can help, and drinking coffee through a straw ensures it has minimal contact with teeth. Have some plastic straws on hand so you have them with you on the go, and pop them into your coffee to help prevent staining.
Tip #2 – Rinse Immediately with Water
As soon as you’re done with that coffee, if you’re not able to brush right away, at least rinse with water immediately. Swish water around in your mouth really well to help wash away those coffee particles before they start settling in teeth. It can also help a bit with the dreaded coffee breath, although a piece of sugar-free gum may do an even better job of chasing away the coffee breath.
Tip #3 – Be Sure You’re Brushing Well
Avoiding any type of stains all comes back to brushing your teeth well. You should already be brushing your teeth at least twice a day. If you can throw in another brushing session in after your coffee, it will help remove stains on teeth before they turn into permanent ones. Going with a quality whitening toothpaste may also help.
Tip #4 – Don’t Forget Flossing
Coffee stains don’t just attack the front of your teeth – they can also hide between teeth. This means you can’t afford to forget flossing. You should be flossing a minimum of once daily to remove plaque and prevent stains between the teeth. Flossing offers other benefits too – it’s linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and other health problems.
Tip #5 – Drink Coffee Quickly
Try drinking your coffee quickly instead of drinking it over a couple of hours. Exposing your teeth to your coffee for longer periods of time can result in more staining. While it’s nice to sip your coffee, aim to drink your coffee in 10-15 minutes instead of sipping all morning to prevent those nasty stains.
Tip #6 – Visit the Dentist Regularly
Make sure you’re visiting the dentist regularly for a checkup and routine cleaning. A good dental cleaning on top of your regular oral hygiene at home can help you keep teeth looking clean and beautiful. If you skip those bi-annual cleanings, you’re more likely to end up with stains that are tough to remove, even with whitening treatments.
Tip #7 – Ask About Whitening Treatments
Even if you take measures to prevent coffee stains on your teeth, you still may end up with staining due to coffee, other foods and drinks, or aging. If you’re not happy with the shade of your teeth, talk to your dentist about in-office whitening treatments. In-office whitening can offer dramatic results quickly, giving you that beautiful, white smile you want.
Cutting back on your coffee habit can be a great thing for your teeth, but if you can’t totally kick the habit or you don’t really want to, following these tips can help minimize the damage of coffee to your teeth. Remember these tips, make sure you’re getting to your dentist regularly, and then enjoy that coffee knowing that you’re taking steps to care for your teeth as well.