Every night before bed, I prep my coffee maker to start brewing when my alarm clock goes off. First thing every morning, as soon as I get out of bed, I pour a cup to activate my brain and get me going. I’m sure I’m not alone on this one. As satisfying as it is to get that mental boost right when I wake up, there are some consequences. It’s a known fact that coffee stains teeth. It’s also a known fact that many of us can’t live without coffee.
So, how does coffee affect your pearly whites, and what can you do about it? There’s a lot of debate about what works and what doesn’t. To make it simple, we’ve looked at how coffee can discolor your teeth and how to turn them back to a stunning smile.
How Does Coffee Stain My Teeth?
Let’s take a deep dive into how coffee gets caught in our teeth and why it stains. Coffee contains a polyphenol compound called tannins. It’s what gives coffee part of its flavor and creates the color of coffee as well. Pigments from tannins are what get attached to your teeth in the cracks and ridges of the enamel.
The enamel—which is the outer layer of your teeth and protects against decay—is filled with millions of pores and ridges. When you drink coffee, tannins get caught in those pours and stains teeth. When enamel wears down, your teeth slowly turn sensitive and prone to more severe issues. That’s why many dentists advise using an enamel-strengthening toothpaste to help build resistance – especially if you’re an avid coffee drinker.
Tannins also get stuck to plaque, which is usually clear but gets discolored from the tannins. When brushing your teeth plaque like this will easily get scrubbed away.
Things To Consider When Drinking Coffee
Of course, brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day are givens for overall oral health. But did you know there’s a lot to consider when it comes to protecting your teeth from coffee stains? There are many myths to debunk and understand. First off, there’s the matter of staining and bad breath that may follow your morning cup of Joe. Here’s a few things you can do to help yourself out.
- Drinking from a straw helps avoid heavy contact between your teeth and your cup of joe. This helps prevent compounds from getting stuck in your enamel.
- Following up with a glass of water helps wash away the tannins stuck in your teeth. It’s a simple way to help keep your mouth fresh and prevent coffee breath, as well. Even following up with raw foods like strawberries, carrots, or celery can help clean your teeth and freshen your breath. These foods help break down bacteria that cause bad breath.
- There’s a wide-spread myth that creamer or milk can help prevent stains since it’s a lighter color. Unfortunately, tannins will remain, even if you add creamer. In fact, most creamers carry so much sugar that they can do more harm than good! It also decreases the health benefits from a black cup of coffee. Although coffee doesn’t create cavities by itself, it does make it easier for cavities to form. By adding sugar-filled creamer, you’re screaming for an upcoming cavity after heavy consumption.
- Lastly, don’t let your cup of coffee sit around all day. By consuming your coffee quickly (that doesn’t mean chugging it down), but in fair moderation proves to be better. By pacing your coffee throughout the day, you’re giving bacteria more of a chance to settle in for long term effects.
Combat Coffee With Yearly Cleanings
Make sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a more thorough cleaning. Professional teeth cleanings go a long way mainly because there could be underlying issues that you’re not even aware of yet. A cleaning can take care of issues such as getting rid of tartar—something that a simple brushing won’t clear out—and identifying cavities before they get out of control.
Although you might stay on top of flossing and brushing, your gums will need a little extra attention to maintain staying healthy. Here at Lee Trevino Dental, you can expect thorough flossing, tartar and plaque removal, polishing, and a full dental exam during your twice-a-year visits.
Teeth Whitening Services from Lee Trevino Dental
Aside from your regular visits, teeth whitening is another option. Although discolored teeth may not be harmful in most cases, it can still be bothersome. For some us hardcore coffee addicts, this might serve as a good option. Remember, in-office vs. at-home treatments do differ. At-home kits are not guaranteed to produce the top quality results that we can. Lee Trevino Dental is proud to offer professional teeth whitening to help boost your confidence and self-image. Our in-office treatment provides immediate results, so give us a call and schedule your appointment today!