If you are an ardent coffee drinker, you’ve probably heard a lot of harmful effects it may be causing to your health.
“Caffeine is addictive,” “it causes insomnia,” and “caffeine can cause cancer” are just some of the things you might have heard.
Fortunately, most of these are just myths. Yet, there is one side effect you might experience when drinking too much coffee: stained teeth.
Tips to Protect Your Teeth from Getting Stained
The fear of stained teeth shouldn’t stop drinking your morning coffee. Instead, there are certain things you can do to reduce the risk of staining your teeth while still enjoying your coffee.
A lot of people believe that using a straw while drinking coffee can help protect their pearly whites. Unfortunately, this isn’t a useful tip to follow.
Instead, it would cause the molars to get stained before you notice there is an issue, eventually causing your front teeth to start getting yellower as well.
Basically, if you’ve tasted any coffee, it means your teeth have been exposed to it. Instead of using a straw, try some of the following tricks to prevent stained teeth.
Drink Plenty of Water
This is something that everyone should do irrespective of their caffeine-drinking habits. Drinking 6 to 8 cups of water can keep you hydrated, make you feel energized, and provide a number of other health benefits.
But did you know it can also protect your teeth from coffee stains? The best way to protect your teeth is to drink a sip of water after every sip of coffee you take.
However, it is understandable if this isn’t feasible for a lot of people. So if drinking water and coffee sip-for-sip doesn’t sound tempting, taking a large sip of water after the coffee may do the trick.
All you need is a mouthful-sized swish of water to get rid of the coffee remains in your mouth.
If you tend to go through a couple of cups of coffee throughout the day, keeping a bottle of water handy can be helpful.
You’re more likely to take a sip if the water is already in front of you as it will be a reminder and you won’t have to put in any extra effort.
Add Milk to Your Coffee
If you’re drinking black coffee for health reasons, this may sound counterproductive. However, a little milk can significantly change the effect of caffeine on your teeth.
Since it lightens the color of the drink, the residue won’t be as visible as with black coffee. Milk also acts as a natural protector that prevents the staining acids of the coffee from attacking your teeth.
Animal milk is also high in protein, which causes the polyphenols – the acids that stain your teeth – to move on to your stomach. Further on, these acids are broken down in the stomach.
That being said, nut milk is still better than no milk. So if you don’t want to drink animal milk, you can always go for almond or cashew milk.
If you’re worried about the health value of your coffee, you can always opt for low-fat milk.
However, be aware that a creamer won’t have the same effect. Instead, it will just increase the calorie count without any additional health benefits.
Floss Before Going to Bed
You’d be surprised to learn that failing to floss properly is one of the major reasons people end up with stained teeth.
If you think that flossing wouldn’t have any effect on caffeine since it is liquid, you’d be mistaken.
When people don’t floss, the remaining food particles lead to plaque and calculus build-up between their teeth and gums. These are porous materials that make your teeth vulnerable to getting stained.
As a result, when you drink coffee the next day, the stains get trapped due to plaque build-up. Regularly flossing can significantly reduce your teeth’s ability to get stained.
And if they can’t get stained in the first place, you don’t have to worry too much about cleaning them later on. So make sure to floss at least once a day, preferably before going to bed.
Do Not Brush After Drinking Coffee
You may have heard that brushing right after a meal can cause the teeth to become weaker.
This happens because the enamel becomes soft after chewing and brushing over already softened enamels can cause further harm.
The acidity in coffee has a similar effect on the enamel. Hence, it is a bad idea to brush your teeth right after having a cup of coffee.
Not only does doing this have no benefit, but it can actively harm the enamel and make your teeth and gums more sensitive over time. If you really want to brush, wait for at least half an hour to 45 minutes.
This will give the enamel enough time to regain its strength. And it will do a better job at removing the caffeine residue from the teeth without causing any additional harm.
Use a Mouthwash Right After
Instead of brushing your teeth after drinking coffee, swish your mouth with a good mouthwash. This is especially crucial for people who already have stained teeth due to their caffeine intake.
Not only will this help prevent stained teeth, but it can also make your teeth whither over time. Since mouthwash doesn’t have any negative effect on the enamel, it is safe to do so right after a cup of coffee.
You can keep a small bottle in your bag or on your desk so you always have some mouthwash handy. However, if this seems too inconvenient, you should at least try to rinse your mouth after every cup of coffee.
It is better if you can rinse your mouth with some milk. Or better yet, you can drink a sip or two of milk afterward.
Reduce the Amount of Caffeine Per Cup
It is likely that coffee is a part of your morning routine due to its caffeine content. Therefore, the idea of reducing the amount of caffeine may raise a few eyes.
However, it is important to understand that the more caffeine you add to your cup, the darker the color of your coffee will be. And the darker the coffee, the higher the risk of stained teeth.
Similarly, less caffeine means less polyphenols coming in direct contact with your teeth. This means that there would be less teeth staining over the long term.
If you don’t think you can reduce the amount of caffeine, you can opt for a different brewing method.
For instance, cold brewing a cup of coffee may take much longer, but it is very beneficial for people who have stained teeth.
The instant brew poses a much higher risk of staining your teeth than any other brew. Therefore, switching your brew may be a good way to prevent teeth stains for most people.
Avoid Teeth Whitening Strips
If you’re in a rush to whiten your teeth, teeth whitening strips may seem like an enticing option. What could be better than instantly whitened teeth within an hour with an over-the-counter product?
However, in the long run, teeth whitening strips do more harm than good. These teeth whitening strips contain chemical agents that make the teeth more porous.
As discussed earlier, porous teeth are more susceptible to staining. Hence, the strips may temporarily whiten your teeth, but they would actually make the condition worse only after one use.
Another mistake people make is that they keep using these strips every time they notice their teeth are getting yellower; only this time, it happens more quickly.
This becomes a vicious cycle and significantly weakens the teeth over time. So fight the urge to use teeth whitening strips every time you notice yellow teeth.
Have Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned on a Regular Basis
Instead of running to the drugstore to get a teeth whitening kit as soon as you notice yellow teeth, head over to your local dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned.
Ideally, you should be doing this every six months irrespective of whether you have any teeth issues or not.
In most cases, stained teeth are a sign of plaque build-up. And while brushing and flossing regularly can prevent plaque-build, it cannot completely remove it once it’s there.
Professional cleaning would be much more effective at removing all the plaque, calculus, and food particles that get stuck between your teeth.
Undergoing the procedure every six months or so ensures that there is no long-term plaque buildup between your teeth.
However, if you already have stained teeth, make sure to book an appointment as soon as possible. It is important to solve the issue so that it doesn’t become worse over time.
Moderate caffeine consumption doesn’t cause any serious harmful effects on one’s health. In fact, it may even have some health benefits when consumed regularly.
As long as you make sure to follow the above tips to protect your teeth against staining, you can enjoy your cup of coffee without any worries.
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