How Much does Tea and Coffee Stain your Teeth?

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While a cup of joe is a well-established part of the morning routine for many people, you may not realize how much it affects your pearly whites. If you don’t take the proper precautions, drinking coffee or tea continually can eventually lead to unsightly teeth stains. Here’s some more info on why this happens and some measures you can take to prevent it.

Why Coffee and Tea Cause Teeth Staining

cup of coffee that stains teethTooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It’s so hard, in fact, that it’s actually harder than steel. However, because it’s not a flat, smooth surface, it can become stained. The outer surface of your teeth are actually full of microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of the foods and drinks that you ingest. When you drink something with dark pigments, such as coffee and tea, those dark pigments can become lodged in the pits and ridges, leading to yellowing stains on your teeth.

The best way to prevent “coffee smile” is to stop drinking it. If that sentence made you laugh, then there’s still hope. Here are some steps you can take to keep your teeth as pearly as possible and still enjoy your morning coffee:

  • Designate a “coffee time” in the mornings (or whenever) instead of consuming all day long. Afterwards, you can drink lots of water to rinse your teeth and even brush before the pigments set in. This is especially useful if you drink your coffee with sugar.
  • Use a straw, but make sure it’s a straw specifically designed for hot beverages. While this doesn’t completely protect your teeth from the staining elements, it reduces direct exposure to them.

Teeth Whitening for Coffee Stains

If coffee stains are already a thing, you can do something about it.

  • Use a whitening toothpaste and brush regularly. A word of caution, however. Prolonged use of whitening toothpastes can wear away tooth enamel, since they contain abrasives that “scrub” your teeth for a whitening effect.
  • Come into the office for regular cleanings, which can remove surface stains from your teeth. While you’re here, ask about in-office whitening treatments, which are the fastest and safest way to restore the brightness of your smile.

Of course, the best way to keep your teeth clean and healthy is to make sure that your oral care habits are up to speed. Be sure to brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist regularly for checkups. If you’re due for a checkup, give us a call today.