What You Need to Know about Coffee and Your Teeth
People love coffee. There’s no denying it. In fact, coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. The health benefits of coffee are often debated, but whether it is good for you or not, one thing’s for sure, coffee is going nowhere.
But did you ever wonder what coffee does to your teeth?
The staining power of coffee has been evident for years, but why does it stain your teeth? And is there anything you can do about it?
At Clearwater Dental Associates, right here in Clearwater, FL, we want you to be able to enjoy your coffee without worrying about damaging your teeth, and with only a few simple precautions, we can make that happen.
Why Does Coffee Stain?
Coffee discolors your teeth by staining your enamel. Enamel is the hard shell on the outside of your tooth that protects the soft pulp on the inside, where the nerves and blood vessels are. Even though enamel appears to be smooth, it is actually covered with tiny indentations, or pits. When you eat or drink something with dark pigments, like coffee, the pits in your enamel trap the pigment, and over time your teeth will darken.
Another reason coffee is such a notorious stainer has to do with the acid content of the drink. Coffee is high in acid, and acid weakens enamel, which makes it more vulnerable to the staining properties of coffee.
How Can You Stop the Staining?
You may have heard that adding cream to your coffee will keep it from staining your teeth. Unfortunately, this is a myth. The pigments that cause the staining are still in coffee, even if you add cream, so they can still get trapped in pits of your enamel. There are, however, some things you can do to fight tooth discoloration as a result of drinking coffee.
Don’t Sip – The people who experience the most extreme tooth discoloration from coffee are the ones who sip on it constantly throughout the day. To reduce the staining effects of coffee, you need to drink it in one sitting, like at lunch or on a break, so that the dark pigments are not making contact with your teeth repeatedly over a relatively long period of time.
Drink Water – Instead of sipping on coffee throughout the day, try water. Drinking plenty of water will help your teeth in two ways: first, it will rinse away bacteria, acid, and pigments that are harmful, and secondly, water helps your body to produce saliva, which has natural stain fighting properties. In fact, you should make it a habit to drink a big glass of water after every cup of coffee.
Eat Something – It is also a good idea to eat something while enjoying your coffee, ideally a healthy snack with lots of fiber. The simple act of chewing does a lot to protect your teeth. Chewing stimulates your mouth’s production of saliva, which as we just mentioned, is your body’s natural teeth protector.
Brush Your Teeth – A healthy and regular brushing routine is essential for maintaining the shine of your smile. Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to help guard against staining and decay. It not a good idea, however, to brush directly after drinking coffee. The acid contained in coffee can weaken the enamel to the point that brushing may actually damage your teeth. In fact, if possible, it might be a good idea to brush your teeth before drinking coffee because doing so will remove plaque, and plaque traps the dark pigments that cause discoloration.
If several years of coffee drinking has already taken its toll on your smile, don’t worry. Clearwater Dental Associates offers a cosmetic dentistry solution that will bring the glow back to your smile.
The ZOOM! whitening system is a process that will remove stains, like the ones associated with coffee, in a safe and effective manner. When you come to our office in Clearwater, we will take an impression of your teeth and use that to build custom dental trays. We will then fill these trays with just the right amount of whitening gel to get your smile back to the color you want. You will take these traye home so that the whitening may be done over a period time to yield most effective results in a safe manner.
Come and See Us
Don’t let your love of coffee keep you from having a healthy and beautiful smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and see if ZOOM! whitening is for you.