Reading Time: 5 minutes

Do coffee and white teeth go together? If you’re a coffee-lover, you already know the unfortunate answer and you may find yourself torn.

You want a bright white smile, but your morning cup jumpstarts your day. You just aren’t you without your coffee! And you’re not alone. The average coffee drinker enjoys three blissful cups each day, and many people drink far more.

The good news is that there are ways to enjoy both. Plus, you’ll be doing your dental health a favor in the meantime, so it’s a win-win.

Why coffee stains teeth 

As you may know, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, so how is it possible for it to get stained? Well, it has to do with the structure of your teeth. Tooth enamel looks flat and smooth, but on a microscopic level, it is not. There are actually tiny pits in the enamel that can catch and hold the pigments which cause yellowing.

Furthermore, coffee contains organic compounds called tannins. These tannins are a type of polyphenol that dissolves in water and coffee isn’t the only culprit. Tannins can be found in black tea, wine, and other beverages. 

Tannins help color pigments from your delicious pick-me-up stick to your teeth. This, combined with the pigments getting stuck in the pits in your teeth, cause discoloration over time. 

Even just one cup of coffee a day is enough to have this effect, though it will take a long time. Constantly exposing your teeth to coffee, such as those who slowly enjoy coffee all day, will speed up the process considerably.

There are also other foods that can contribute to staining your teeth, so coffee doesn’t have to take all the blame. Tomato sauce; dark berries like blackberries, cherries, and blueberries; dark soda; hard candy; and more can all discolor your teeth over time.

Ask a nearby dentist about teeth whitening options.

Use Opencare to book a dental cleaning.

Is coffee bad for teeth?

So coffee-drinking and white teeth don’t look like they will be friends anytime soon. Is there anything else about coffee that is bad for your teeth? Unfortunately, there is.

Coffee is quite acidic. Overexposure to acidity, which also appears in light-colored beverages like lemonade, can degrade your tooth enamel over time. This weakening of the enamel also probably contributes to the yellowing effect of drinking these beverages. 

Related:  Dental veneers: Types, costs, procedure, and what to expect

Having one or two cups of coffee a day probably won’t cause a problem. However, heavy coffee drinkers may discover that their habit is leading to tooth decay and more frequent cavities. This is especially damaging for coffee grazers – that is, people who drink coffee slowly throughout the day. 

How can I protect my teeth when drinking coffee?

You might wonder if diluting your coffee with milk and sugar will help slow the discoloration. However, don’t let that light brown color fool you, just because your coffee is lighter in color doesn’t mean it can’t stain your teeth. In fact, the presence of extra sugar can actually contribute to bacteria production and speed up tooth decay.

Without a doubt, the best way to protect your teeth from yellowing and tooth decay as a result of drinking coffee is to stop drinking coffee. 

Hold on, put your pitchforks away, we understand giving up coffee altogether isn’t feasible for many people. Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can use to minimize tooth discoloration. 

Drink your coffee in one sitting

First, try not to drink coffee all day long. Instead, enjoy your cup of coffee all at once.

A quick rinse

Swish a mouthful of water around in your mouth immediately after drinking coffee to help rinse tannins and pigments off your teeth. 

Drink through a straw

Another great tip for iced coffee drinkers is to drink it through a straw. This will help minimize your teeth’s exposure to the staining effects of that liquid goodness. 

Brush your teeth

As you might guess, brushing your teeth after drinking coffee is also a great idea and helps combat the bad breath that coffee can promote. However, because of the weakening effect of the acid, it’s better to wait about half an hour after you finish your cup to brush. Brushing your teeth immediately afterward can further weaken the enamel and promote staining.

Also, be sure to keep up your oral hygiene. Visit your dentist twice a year to remove stains and keep your teeth white and beautiful. Find a dentist to get started!

Due for a checkup?

Find a top rated dentist near you that takes your insurance.

Are coffee stains on teeth permanent?

No! It’s unlikely stains will go away on their own, even if you stop drinking coffee. However, there is a veritable arsenal of both home remedies and professional dental techniques that can help whiten your teeth once more.

Related:  The 10 best whitening toothpaste for 2021: Our top picks

How do you get coffee stains off your teeth?

Some of it depends on how heavily your teeth have been stained. You may be able to rehabilitate lightly stained teeth with at-home remedies, whereas heavy stains may require the skilled hand of a dental professional. 

Regardless, let’s look at the many options that are available. 

Eating certain fruits and vegetables

First up, nature has its own remedy for teeth stains. Just as there are foods that can stain your teeth, there are also foods that can scrub them off. The fibers in strawberries, lemons, and other raw fruits and vegetables can help clean teeth and break down bacteria. 

However, don’t go overboard or try coating these foods on your teeth to clean off stains. You could do just as much harm as good. For example, the acidity in lemons could cause worse damage by drastically weakening your tooth enamel. 

Whitening toothpaste

One simple way of removing coffee stains from your teeth is to use whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that work with your toothbrush to scrub your teeth and help remove the pigments that have gotten stuck in the tiny pits of your teeth. 

Related:  Are teeth whitening pens worth the hype? Let's break it down.

The great thing about this method of tooth-whitening treatment is that it is very gentle. You won’t see dramatic results from one day to the next, but it is an excellent long-term solution for keeping your teeth white while enjoying your favorite cup of joe each day. 

Baking soda wash

The taste of baking soda is a little unpleasant, but the extra whitening power is enough for most people to endure it. Try brushing your teeth with baking soda a couple of times a month. You can also add it to your regular toothpaste to mask the taste a bit while still enjoying the benefits. 

For a one-two whitening punch, try making a paste using one part making soda to two parts hydrogen peroxide and brushing your teeth with it. Alternatively, you can use it as a mouthwash. The vigorous bubble action you’ll see when using these two ingredients together is tough on stains but gentle on your teeth. 

Teeth whitening strips

Over-the-counter teeth whitening strips can be helpful for more stubborn stains (or faster whitening). However, always be sure to follow the directions when using them. Though they are safe when used regularly, improper use of at-home whitening products can damage your teeth and gums and lead to further oral problems. 

Visiting the dentist regularly

An excellent method of keeping your teeth white as well as supporting your overall dental health is to visit your dentist twice a year. A professional cleaning will often remove coffee stains, particularly when done frequently before the stains have had a lot of time to settle deep into the teeth. 

Related:  Is hydrogen peroxide safe and effective for whitening your teeth?

Your dentist will also remove plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health problems. How long has it been since the last time you had a dentist appointment? Make one today to keep up on your oral health. 

Professional teeth whitening

The best way of removing dark or stubborn coffee stains is by visiting a dentist for professional tooth whitening. In-office teeth whitening treatment can lighten your teeth by several shades in just one visit. Despite its powerful effect, this procedure is relatively gentle on your teeth and gums.

Ask a nearby dentist about teeth whitening options.

Use Opencare to book a dental cleaning.

Professional-strength teeth whitening is also available as a take-home kit under the watchful eye of your dentist. Treatment will usually last about two weeks and noticeably lighten your teeth by several shades. Using this type of treatment according to your dentist’s instructions is safe and effective. 

However, some people have damaged their teeth by misusing at-home teeth-whitening kits, so be sure to use them as directed. 

Enjoy your pearly whites and coffee too!

There you have it! It is possible to enjoy your coffee and white teeth at the same time. Just follow the tips in this article and make sure to visit your dentist regularly.

Don’t have a dentist? Find a dentist near you and level up your oral wellness today!