Coffee drinkers, rejoice! Tooth discoloration doesn’t have to result from your daily coffee habit. It takes lots of commitment and consistent work to avoid coffee-stained teeth, but it can be done.
Hot coffee seeps very easily into the tiny pores inside tooth enamel. Whether cold or hot, the dark coloring of coffee becomes very noticeable from these pores when not regularly removed from tooth enamel.
At first, this affects mainly the top layer of your teeth and is removable. Over time, coffee can seep inside the deeper layers of your teeth. This type of multi-layer tooth discoloration — called intrinsic stain — is very difficult to remove.
What can you do to prevent permanent coffee stains on your teeth? Follow these eight easy tips that will keep your teeth looking their best, even while enjoying coffee regularly.
8. Brushing and Cleanings Are Your First Defense
This might be stating the obvious, but brushing your teeth every day will help keep coffee stains at bay. Plus, regular teeth cleanings at the dentist’s office are important to eliminate plaque buildup.
Coffee and other foods mix with naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth, creating plaque. That plaque is a breeding ground for tooth discoloration. It also could eventually cause tooth decay. Regular cleanings and daily brushing help keep plaque and coffee stains at a bare minimum in your mouth.
7. Be Sure to Floss Daily
Removing plaque between your teeth will also help save them from coffee stains. Flossing to remove plaque from your gums is just as important as brushing. It’s also essential for overall oral health.
Brushing doesn’t remove all of the bacteria and food buildup that nestles between your pearly whites. Coffee stains can spread from those unseen crevices just as easily as anywhere else.
Prevent permanent coffee stains on your teeth by flossing every day. If it’s a new habit that’s hard to remember, make it part of your bedtime routine.
6. Make a Homemade Tooth Whitening Paste
Coffee drinkers can whiten their teeth at home with an easy homemade paste made of two common household ingredients — hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Be careful, though, as a mixture with too much baking soda might damage tooth enamel.
For easy home tooth whitening, mix three or four drops of hydrogen peroxide with a little bit of baking soda. If the mixture is gritty, add more liquid or start over. An overly gritty paste could permanently scratch the enamel of your teeth.
Add the homemade paste to your toothbrush and brush as you would with toothpaste. Rinse and spit out the DIY whitening paste without swallowing it.
5. Drink Through a Straw
The less coffee that coats your teeth, the fewer stains will be left behind. Using a straw when you drink coffee is an easy hack for keeping your teeth whiter. We don’t just mean with iced coffee, either.
Yes, even hot coffee can be drunk easily through a straw. If you’re a die-hard coffee lover, consider investing in reusable metal straws. They’re affordable and stand up to the hottest cup of coffee. They’re also handy to have for drinking coffee from tall travel mugs.
4. Drink Coffee with Milk
The casein in milk could lessen the stain power of your cup of coffee. A 2014 study in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene showed that tea mixed with milk “significantly reduces the ability of tea to stain teeth.”
Mammal milk naturally has casein. Adding dairy-free, plant or nut milks might not have the same effect for preventing coffee stains.Related: 10 Home Remedies for a Tooth Abscess
3. Drink Lots of Water
A simple way to regularly flush coffee from on and in between your teeth is to drink enough water. Sipping a glass of filtered water while you drink coffee will help immediately. Or drinking water after each cup of coffee, whenever possible, will do the trick.
Drinking plenty of water also supports healthy saliva production, preventing dry mouth. A lack of saliva can lead to eventual tooth decay.
Be sure to swish water around your mouth after your cup of coffee, and skip the straw. You want the water to take as much coffee residue as possible with it when you swallow.
2. Don’t Always Drink Coffee Slowly
Relaxing with a cup of coffee in the morning can be a peaceful way to get ready for the day. But if you drink your coffee slowly, it has more time to penetrate tooth enamel. If preventing coffee stains is your ultimate goal, drink your coffee quickly at least now and then.
Some tips for drinking coffee more quickly include letting it cool down a bit first to avoid burning your mouth and throat. Iced coffee might be easier to drink quickly. Or drink a smaller amount at a time to finish it faster.
1. Try Sugar-Free Chewing Gum
Who knew your dentist might actually recommend gum chewing for dental health? Well, only if it’s sugar-free gum. Avoid chewing gum with sugar, as this sweetener is known to cause tooth decay.
According to the American Dental Association, the action of gum-chewing stimulates the production of saliva. When your mouth is properly hydrated with saliva, more of the food and bacteria coating your teeth gets washed away.
A bit of sugar-free gum, plus these other easy tips, will help save your teeth from coffee stains for years to come.Related: 20 Helpful Household Hacks Using Toothpaste