Coffee and tea lovers, this one is for you. As your dentist, it is our job to educate you about prevention and give you the tools to the healthiest and most brilliant smile. The only way to prevent coffee and tea stains is to stop drinking coffee, right? Wrong! When drinking your next cup, be confident that you will get the buzz you need while also protecting your pearly whites! Here are a couple valuable tricks on how to prevent coffee and tea from tainting your smile.
Regular coffee or tea drinkers know that both substances cause teeth to yellow over time, but do you know why? Your enamel on your teeth may look perfectly smooth, but it actually contains thousands of microscopic pores. When consuming a staining food or beverage, particles of what you consumed gets stuck in these pores and create a stain on the outer part of your enamel. The longer that this stain sits in the pore, the deeper the stain gets and the hard it will be for your dentist to lessen the stain.
Drinking a strong smelling coffee such as expresso may be the perfect start to your day, but it also can lead to the dreaded coffee breath. The stronger your coffee smells, the more likely the smells will stick in your mouth and cause coffee breath. So how do you avoid this?
By drinking water after and while consuming coffee, you are able to wash away some of the smells and particles that coffee leaves behind. Also, using a tongue scraper will remove bacteria that is stuck to your tongue and can reduce the odor caused by drinking coffee. Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol is the easiest way to freshen your breath in a hurry. Chewing this gum helps remove bacteria from your mouth and is a sweet alternative to sugar-filled gum.
One of the best ways to reduce the stains on your teeth is to limit the exposure of the staining liquids to your teeth. The easiest way to do this to drink your beverage during one sitting, meaning that you don’t spend hours sipping the liquid. Using a straw can further lessen stains since this also limits the contact of the liquid to your teeth. Changing this habit will protect your teeth from the exposure and keep your teeth whiter longer.
You will find that some people argue that adding milk to tea or coffee will reduce the amount stains from the beverages. The argument stating that adding milk to your coffee makes the beverage a lighter color and therefore stains your teeth less is false. However, if you add milk to tea, studies completed by the University of Alberta has concluded that this does indeed lessen the staining. The study found that milk from an animal, like a cow, has proteins in it that provide an acid staining component specifically found in tea.
Well, I thought you would never ask! Your dental hygienist and dentist are valuable resources when preventing and reducing stains. Regularly attending your scheduled exams and cleanings will prevent stains from getting deeper while also reducing any stains that you currently have.
To get a bright smile in just one office visit, after your cleaning, ask your dentist about in-office teeth whitening. You can get your smile up to 8 shade whiter in just one office visit. Another cosmetic alternative to achieve your brilliant smile is veneers. If you are interested in learning more about veneers, call to schedule your cosmetic consult with your OC healthy Smiles dental specialist at (714) 545-0484.