4 Ways To Prevent Your Coffee Habit From Staining Your Teeth

3 May 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

Coffee is a very popular beverage. In the United States, 64 percent of adults drink at least one cup of coffee per day. The average American coffee drinker consumes 2.7 cups per day. While coffee can be a pleasant part of your morning routine, this darkly-colored beverage can stain your tooth enamel if you don't take precautions to preserve your white smile. Here are four ways to prevent your coffee habit from staining your teeth.

Drink Water Afterwards

Coffee stains your enamel when its dark pigments are able to linger inside your mouth. To prevent stains from occurring, you need to rinse away the pigments as soon as possible, before they get the chance to stain your enamel. You can do this by drinking water after you finish your morning coffee. Swish the water around your mouth to make sure that the pigments are removed from the spaces between your teeth and around your gum line.

Of course, water is no substitute for a good oral hygiene routine that includes regular brushing and flossing. However, it's a good way to keep your teeth from becoming coffee stained. Rinsing your mouth with water is especially helpful when you're on the go and aren't able to brush your teeth.

Brush and Floss Regularly

Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly will help get rid of coffee pigments and keep your teeth from getting stained. You should brush your teeth twice daily and floss once daily. While this may seem like common sense, many Americans aren't following this advice, and if you're one of them, you could end up with coffee-stained teeth.

According to the American Dental Association, only 56.8% of women brush their teeth twice a day, while 49% of men follow this advice. Many Americans also don't floss: only 50.5% floss their teeth everyday. If you're drinking highly-pigmented beverages like coffee, you can't afford to not brush and floss regularly.

Use Whitening Toothpaste

Using a whitening toothpaste can also help you keep your teeth from becoming yellow as a result of your coffee habit. Whitening toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that can gently scrub away surface stains on your enamel. With regular use, these toothpastes will keep the effects of your coffee habit at bay.

It's important that you don't brush your teeth immediately after finishing a cup of coffee. Coffee is acidic, and it's able to soften your enamel. Brushing your teeth immediately can erode your softened enamel, and eroded enamel can lead to problems like tooth sensitivity. After drinking a cup of coffee, wait at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth.

Get Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned

Plaque is a film made of bacteria that builds up on your teeth after you eat. This film is sticky, so it can collect pigments from your coffee and become stained. While plaque can be removed with a toothbrush or floss, any plaque that's left behind on your teeth will harden in as little as 24 hours. This hardened plaque, known as calculus, can't be removed at home.

To keep your teeth from looking stained, it's important to get this calculus removed. Your dentist or dental hygienist can gently scrape away your calculus with a dental scaler. Generally, professional dental cleanings should be done twice a year, but your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings due to your coffee habit.

Drinking coffee everyday doesn't mean that getting yellowed, discolored teeth is inevitable. As long as you take precautions, you can keep your teeth white while still enjoying your favorite beverage. If it's too late and your teeth are already stained, see your dentist--someone like Michael G Landy DDS--to have them whitened.