To many of our patients, their cup of coffee in the morning is sacred. While your Burlingame dentist can certainly appreciate the many stimulating benefits offered by coffee, your daily cup (or three) of java also comes with an enamel staining price.
To image what drinking coffee does to the color of your teeth, just consider what the inside of your coffee cup looks like the next morning should you fail to empty it out over night. Simply swap out that porcelain mug for your pearly whites and you get the not so clear picture.
Of course, not all stains are created equal, and some individuals are simply more susceptible to tooth stains than other. This can explain why some people can enjoy a brilliantly bright smile while drinking three pots a day while others suffer from enamel stains even though they drink far less. (As if you needed one more example of life being unfair.)
The reason why some teeth stain more easily than others is due to naturally occurring irregularities in the surface of their enamel that allow stains to set in more easily. Excessive clenching and grinding habits can lead to fractures and cracks in tooth enamel results in a breakdown. These unhealthy habits make teeth more porous, thereby increasing an individual’s susceptibility to staining.
The Primary Causes of Enamel Stains
By now, most of us know that the primary culprits for teeth staining are items we consume every day: soda, red and white wine, tea, and coffee. However, there are a few other lesser-known foods that can also take their toll on the color of our teeth. Tomatoes and berries are known to stain, as well as specific brands of over-the-counter oral rinses that contain stannous fluoride, an ingredient found in most commercial mouthwashes.
So while a number of tasty treats can cause issues with the color of our teeth, giving up coffee to protect the luster of our smiles might be more than some of us can bear.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help lessen the impact drinking coffee has on your teeth.
- Drink through a straw. By drinking beverages that stain through a straw, you prevent the liquid from ever making contact with your teeth.
- Add a little cream. Milk has a natural neutralizing effect on compounds that destroy tooth enamel.
- Brush or rinse immediately after drinking. While admittedly not a very tasty option, you can reduce the impact drinking coffee has by brushing immediately after you finish. If that sounds too unpalatable, try thoroughly rinsing your mouth out with water instead.
- Practice quality oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily help to strengthen your teeth against harmful substances that break down tooth enamel. If you practice quality oral hygiene habits daily, your teeth will become much more resistant to stains.
- Use a whitening toothpaste. Whitening toothpaste brands can help remove superficial stains, like those made by drinking coffee, from the surface of your teeth.