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Many people rely on drinking a cup of coffee or tea to kick-start their day. However, this morning routine can affect your dental health. If a cup of coffee or tea can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth.
Coffee contains tannins. Tannins are a form of polyphenols that break down in water. They are also present in drinks like wine and tea.
Tannins cause color compounds to linger on your teeth. When these compounds stick to your teeth, they can leave a yellow or brown stain. It only takes drinking one cup of coffee a day to stain your teeth.
The most effective way to prevent stained teeth is to stop drinking coffee in excess. However, if you do decide to continue drinking tea and coffee, there are some ways to avoid staining.
Drink a glass of water after your morning coffee or tea to rinse your teeth and mouth. This can help the tannins wash away rather than linger on your tooth surfaces.
If you drink iced tea or coffee, sip through an eco-friendly straw to reduce the risk of stains. Drinking through a straw minimizes the contact your teeth have with the drink.
Rinse your mouth with water after drinking tea and coffee. Then, brush your teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste approximately 30 minutes after finishing your beverage.
Waiting 30 minutes to brush after rinsing allows your mouth time to neutralize the acidity left in your mouth from coffee. If you brush too soon, enamel that has been weakened by coffee or tea can become damaged.
Eating certain kinds of food can help prevent stains. Raw fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries and lemons, have natural fibers that clean teeth by breaking down bacteria.
Cut back on your coffee intake by drinking less. If you tend to drink more than one cup of coffee a day, try having just one in the morning.
Cream and sugar speed up the growth of bacteria in your mouth and lead to an increased risk of tooth decay, which can be brown, black, or yellow.
Enjoy coffee or tea in one sitting rather than taking small sips during an extended period to prevent bacteria buildup.
Drink coffee or tea with less caffeine content. Less caffeine equals fewer polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring organic compounds that include the chemical tannins, which can cause compounds to stick to your teeth. Fewer polyphenols mean less staining.
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Coffee and tea are not the only substances that stain teeth. Other foods and drinks can also leave behind a brown or yellow stain.
Tea may be more likely to stain your teeth than coffee because of its higher tannin content. Tannins are a chemical found naturally in organic foods that promote staining because they attract compounds and cause them to stick on enamel.
Many black, green, and herbal teas contain tannins that stain teeth and gums.
Green tea leaves a gray stain on teeth. Black tea leaves yellowish marks. Even herbal teas like chamomile and hibiscus can cause staining.
Fortunately, there are ways to remove coffee stains from teeth. These include:
Many over-the-counter products can help whiten teeth at home. These include:
Whitening products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance are proven to be effective and safe for use.
Coffee drinkers can also use some home remedies to whiten their teeth, including:
Although many of these natural remedies have been around for a long time, proper scientific research is still needed to determine their effectiveness.
If you’re looking for a more effective and immediate solution, consider professional whitening.
The concentration of professional whitening gel is more potent than that of at-home whitening treatments. This means you will notice instant results.
For some people, tooth whitening gel can lead to temporary sensitivity. Your dentist can take extra precautions to ensure the soft tissues of your mouth don’t become irritated.
At-home whitening gels prescribed by dentists contain higher concentrations of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. They also come with custom trays for more effective and comfortable whitening.
See NewMouth’s top 10 teeth whitening products of 2024.
Coffee and tea can cause other unpleasant effects on oral health. These include:
Coffee is very acidic, so drinking a lot of it can result in enamel erosion. Some teas are more acidic than others.
Substances high in acidity are more likely to weaken the enamel of your teeth.As the enamel wears away, the dentin layer that coats your teeth is exposed. This results in a darkened yellow or brown appearance. Tooth enamel preserves teeth by protecting them against decay and sensitivity.
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