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Maybe coffee isn't the cause of your stained teeth

stained teeth from coffee
Although coffee has many health benefits including improving memory, morale, and concentration, its excessive consumption can cause unwanted effects in our mouths, especially our teeth.
Sometimes when you wake up in the morning you notice stains on your teeth, the first thing that comes to your mind if you are a coffee drinker is that it is the cause, but, is it really the case?

How does coffee stain our teeth?

tooth layers: enamel, dentine and pulp
Our teeth are made up of two layers: the enamel that covers the tooth and the dentin below it.
The substance found in coffee that is able to stain our teeth is tannins. Tannins allow the coffee color to set and stabilize on tooth enamel, the same goes for wine, which is why your teeth turn red after tasting it.
The enamel, which is slightly porous, will further promote the formation of stains and their progression to dentin.
The good news is as long as the stain is limited to the enamel, it can easily be removed, whereas if dentin is reached, teeth whitening at your dentist is necessary.
Usually, the stain caused by coffee is temporary and can be removed by daily brushing and flossing.
Coffee staining typically affects the anterior teeth and the parts of the tooth that you see when you smile as those are the spots that are bathed in coffee as you drink. The whole tooth will typically discolor, typically yellowing or darkening.

Note that the stain caused by coffee is brown or yellow and smooth as if the color is part of the tooth. Coffee staining typically affects the anterior teeth and the parts of the tooth that you see when you smile. In other situations, the entire tooth becomes discolored, it may turn yellow or darken. On the other hand, if it is rough, it is probably an initial stage of cavities or tartar, in this case, visit your dentist to find out the cause and treatment.

Coffee isn't the only cause of stained teeth

If you are a heavy coffee drinker, chances are good that it is behind the problem, but you should be aware that there are other equally important factors that can stain your teeth as well.

Brown spots and tobacco

Tobacco is one of the primary causes of brown spots on teeth. Like coffee, its components (tar and nicotine) attach to the teeth and cause yellow or even black stains. In addition, tobacco is a major contributor to gum disease.

Brown spots and cavities

Demineralization stains due to cavities are very common, they should not be confused with stains caused by coffee. In the initial stage of decay, the lesion is limited to the enamel. The acidity released by the bacteria will demineralize the enamel and lead to brown or white spots. Unlike coffee stains, demineralization stains are rough.
This type of stain is reversible, their treatment consists of a topical fluoride application and rigorous hygiene.

Brown spots and drugs

Some medications can affect the natural color of our teeth. Amoxicillin which is an antibiotic is widely used to treat many infections. In very rare cases (<1 / 10,000) it can cause a generally yellowish discoloration which can affect all teeth.
Chlorhexidine mouthwashes can also cause brown stains on teeth, as chlorhexidine binds to both hard and soft tissue. So, if your dentist prescribes chlorhexidine mouthwash for a short time as a treatment of gum disease, stick to the duration and try to reduce your intake of coffee, tea, red wine, or alcohol. any food that may stain your teeth.
Another substance that can stain your teeth is fluoride. Fluoride is well known as the best friend of our teeth. Thanks to it, the enamel is strengthened and cavities decrease. However, too much fluoride can cause whitish spots.

Black spots and affected pulp

The dental pulp is filled with blood vessels and nerves that supply our teeth. Imagine what could happen if these vessels are damaged, there will be necrosis (tissue death). This can happen with deep decay or trauma. The necrotic tissue has a grayish color that shows through the dentin and the enamel giving the impression that the whole tooth is colored. The necrotic tooth requires root canal treatment to remove all necrotic tissue, clean and seal the canals of the tooth.

Tooth discoloration and wear

Our teeth turn yellow with age, this is because the enamel wears out and reveals the dentin which has a darker color.

Other foods that can stain your teeth too

  • berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries)
  • red wine
  • tomato and tomato sauces
  • colas
  • black tea
  • popsicles
  • hard candy
  • sports drinks

What you can do to prevent or treat coffee stains

Brushing: the first thing to consider

The best way to prevent coffee stains is to brush your teeth properly at least twice a day and see your dentist for regular cleaning. By brushing your teeth properly, you will keep a bright smile between your visits to the dentist. Also, you won't even have to give up your morning coffee.

Don't forget to floss!

Brushing alone doesn't remove all the bacteria from your mouth. The plaque between the teeth is difficult to remove, which is why it is recommended to floss regularly. Taking a few minutes each day to floss, whether in the morning or in the evening, can really have a major impact on your oral health.

Drinking Through a Straw

The straw reduces the effect of coffee to color your teeth because by drinking with a straw, the liquid has less contact with your teeth. And, the smaller this straw, the better. This is done more commonly with iced coffees, but it works very well with hot coffees too.

Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide

Make your own whitening paste by mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The mixture should be fairly runny. If it's too gritty, you've put in too much baking soda - be careful, you could damage your teeth enamel. Mix this paste with your toothpaste once a day for 2 to 3 weeks until you notice results.
One last thing, don't leave the product in contact with your teeth for more than 2 minutes.

Add milk

Drinking milk makes your teeth stronger and protects tooth enamel. By mixing milk with your coffee, you will reduce the effects of coffee on your teeth.

Sip water between cups of coffee

A swig of water can wash away staining liquids quickly before they start to set into your teeth. Plus, drinking enough water is a great way to help you stay hydrated throughout the day.

Chew sugar-free gum

Conquer coffee breath and clean your teeth at the same time. Chewing gum increases the amount of saliva in your mouth, and saliva washes away acids and plaque from your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent tooth decay. Check out these other benefits of chewing gum.

Teeth whitening at the dentist: what to expect?

Stains do not disappear despite good oral hygiene? No problem, there is still a solution.
Professional tooth whitening consists of lightening the color of the enamel and the dentin with hydrogen peroxide which is able to release the coloring products from the teeth.
Before whitening, your dentist will make sure you don't have untreated cavities, devitalized teeth, weak enamel, gum irritation, and tooth sensitivity, otherwise, it won't work.
The results of whitening depend on your lifestyle: what you eat, your habits, and your oral hygiene level!
In general, the results of tooth whitening are visible for about 2 years. However, this period can be short from only 6 months to more than 10 years depending on the food you consume and habits such as smoking.