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What Works Best To Remove Coffee Stains From Your Teeth?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

If you're a coffee drinker, you probably LOVE your morning coffee. Maybe you even love it in the afternoon and evening too. However, most people find the stains it leaves on their teeth to be a bit less desirable. Coffee, black tea and red wine can all cause discolouration on your tooth enamel. Luckily, teeth whitening technology is now better than ever. Effective treatments are available at your dental professional's office and over-the-counter to keep you smiling.

What Causes Stained Teeth?

According to the American Dental Association in the United States, coffee, wine and tea contain intense colour pigments called chromogens that can alter the colour of your tooth enamel (the outer layer of your teeth). Whitening products bleach that outer layer by breaking the stains into smaller pieces with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

Other potential causes of stained teeth include:

  • Genetics (tooth discolouration can be hereditary)
  • Ageing
  • Injury
  • Illness
  • Medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Fluorosis (when children are exposed to too much fluoride)

How Can You Whiten Your Teeth at Home?

There are various products available over the counter that can help you whiten your teeth at home.

  • Whitening Toothpaste
    Every toothpaste has abrasive ingredients that help remove stains from the surface of your teeth. However, there are whitening toothpastes that are specially formulated to polish and brighten your smile even more.
  • Whitening Mouth Rinse
    Whitening mouth rinses contain bleaching agents that can help remove surface stains from your teeth if you use them regularly.
  • Over-the-Counter Bleaching Products
    There are whitening strips and gel trays you can purchase at local grocery stores and pharmacies that go beneath the surface stains and actually break up stains in your enamel.
  • Dentist-Prescribed At-Home Whitening
    Whitening agents prescribed by your dentist have higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide than what you can find over the counter, but still less than if you were to opt for an in-office treatment. Ask your dental professional if this option is right for you. They may prefer to administer higher concentrations safely in their clinics.

How Can Your Dental Professional Help You Whiten Your Teeth?

If you’re looking for a more immediate and effective whitening solution than over-the-counter options, you might consider a professional whitening at your dental professional’s clinic. They'll be able to safely apply a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than what is in over-the-counter products.

  • Dental Supervision
    When you go in for a professional whitening procedure, an examination will be done to ensure that your gums and teeth are healthy enough for the treatment and that you're not at risk of any adverse effects. They'll also check to see if you have any crowns or veneers that don't need to be whitened.
  • Stronger Whitening Agents
    Your dental professional will be able to use a higher concentration of whitening gel than what you can use at home, and they can monitor you while you undergo the procedure. For some people, tooth whitening gel can cause temporary sensitivity, and your dentist can take precautions to ensure the soft tissues of your mouth are not irritated.
  • Faster Results
    Because the concentration of professionally applied whitening gel is stronger than what you'd get in at-home whitening products, you'll notice that the results are visible immediately rather than several weeks after daily applications.

How Can You Prevent Stained Teeth?

The best way to prevent stained teeth is to minimise beverages that can cause discolouration and avoid tobacco products. If you are taking a medication that can cause tooth discolouration, speak to your healthcare professional to find out if it's possible to take a different medication. And be sure to always practice good oral hygiene:

  • Brush at least twice a day.
  • Brush after eating meals or drinking coffee, black tea or red wine. After eating or drinking, if you don’t have access to a toothbrush, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Floss or clean between your teeth with interdental brushes or water flossers at least once a day.
  • Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse and a tongue scraper.
  • And be sure to see your dental professional for regular check-ups.

You have only one set of natural teeth, so it makes sense that you'll experience some discolouration over the course of your life. But that also means it's important that you do what you can to practice good oral hygiene. Discolouration can be reversed; severe gum disease and tooth loss cannot. We wish you the best of oral health on your journey. Happy brushing!