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How Does Coffee Stain Teeth?

Wendy J. Woudstra

Most of us can't live without a daily dose of coffee to jump start the day, but could the beverage that puts morning smiles on our faces also be making those smiles less brilliant?

How Does Coffee Stain Teeth?

Although the enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, it is not flat and smooth. On the contrary, your tooth enamel contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink.

Pigments from dark-colored drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda can become embedded in those cracks and ridges and, if the proper steps are not taken, can cause permanent, yellowing stains on your teeth.

Does Coffee Stain Teeth Less If You Add Cream?

While it may seem that lighter-colored coffee would stain less, the same pigments and acids are present in coffee with cream as black coffee; thus, adding any sort of whitener to your coffee will not prevent your teeth from becoming stained, unless you put significantly less coffee in your cup to make room for the cream.

How Can One Prevent "Coffee Smile"?

Giving up coffee, tea, or other tooth-staining beverages is the best way to prevent the staining caused by those drinks, but for most people, this is not an acceptable solution.

Rather than abstaining, try to consume your coffee at specific break times, rather than sipping constantly throughout the day. After finishing your coffee, you can then rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth to remove the potentially yellowing pigments from your teeth.

Using a whitening toothpaste and brushing regularly is a good way to maintain whiter teeth at home. In addition, visiting your dentist's office for regular cleanings can remove many of the surface stains on your teeth, giving you a whiter smile, no matter how many cups of coffee you need to make it through the day.

Learn more about tooth discoloration in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Source: Morguefile

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