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 our smiles less brilliant? It's a fact that coffee stains teeth, but there are ways to help maintain a pearly-white smile.
How Does Coffee Stain Teeth?
The enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, but it is not flat and smooth. Actually, your tooth enamel contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink.
Coffee contains natural compounds called tannins that cause pigments to stick to your teeth. Pigments from dark-colored drinks, such as coffee, tea and soda, can become embedded in the cracks and ridges of your enamel. Over time, this leads to permanent discoloration of your teeth.
Does Coffee Stain Teeth Less If You Add Cream?
It only takes one cup of coffee a day to stain your teeth. 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. Adding any sort of creamer 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 to Prevent "Coffee Smile"
There are many options for getting a brighter smile, but the work starts at home. Giving up coffee is the best way to prevent staining, but for most people, that's not a realistic option. In that case, try to drink your coffee at specific times, rather than sipping constantly throughout the day. About 30 minutes after finishing your coffee, rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth to remove the pigments from your enamel.
Another at-home solution for coffee-stained teeth is using over-the-counter teeth whitener. However, these whitening products aren't as strong as professional treatments, and it may take several weeks to see results.
Using whitening toothpaste and brushing regularly can help you maintain a brighter, healthier smile. Whitening toothpastes with mild abrasives polish teeth and remove stains on the surface of teeth, but whitening toothpastes with whitening agents like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide go below the surface of the tooth to whiten teeth inside and out.
Bleaching whiteners are available either over the counter or from your dentist. These products coat teeth to dissolve stains, and, while very effective, can cause tooth sensitivity. You should always consult your dentist for help in choosing the best whitening products for your teeth.
In addition to keeping up with good oral care habits at home, schedule regular appointments with your dentist to keep your teeth healthy and pearly white. The abrasion and polishing action of a professional cleaning can help remove surface stains that are caused by drinking coffee. You can also talk to your dentist about a professional teeth whitening treatment, such as bleaching. A bleaching treatment would actually lighten the shade of your teeth, resulting in a noticeably whiter, brighter smile!
While it's true that coffee stains teeth, you don't have to give up the habit completely to get the bright smile you deserve. Remember to take sips of water while drinking coffee, brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist for cleanings to maintain a healthy, gleaming smile.