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That Cup of Coffee Might Be Compromising Your Smile

Posted by Darren Martin on Nov 1, 2016 12:12:20 PM

That Cup of Coffee Might Be Compromising Your Smile

An issue that doesn't seem to get enough traction, among coffee drinkers, is the beverage's affinity for producing stains. The longer coffee remains on your teeth, between brushing, the more likely you are to see discoloration along your enamel. If you're one of those people who craves a cup, during late evenings, to get you through the last of your favorite television reruns, you're doing better than most. Still, taking the proper steps to protect your teeth is essential. The first thing you should understand is how coffee stains occur and why being proactive is vital to your oral health.


Protecting Your Enamel

Anytime you eat or drink, bacteria, food particles, and liquids become trapped in the tiny clefts in your enamel. Pigmented drinks, like coffee, are especially problematic and will cause permanent stains if not they are not quickly addressed. Some experts suggest brushing or rinsing, at the very least, after consumption, but others say neither will effectively prevent stains. Flossing regularly, and using an electric toothbrush is recommended; however, the best prevention method and the most practical solution for preserving adequate oral hygiene is periodic visits to the dentist.


Does Rinsing Really Help?

Those who warn against brushing as a sole means of protecting your teeth do so for good reason. The acid in coffee eats away at enamel. If you're like many people, coffee is an absolute necessity. In that case, rinsing after every few sips can be helpful as a temporary solution, but keeping up that habit can be exhausting. Just be sure to check daily for any changes to your teeth, and schedule teeth whitening with your South Carolina dentist as soon as you notice any yellowing or other discoloration.


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Using a Straw Won't Prevent Stains

You've probably heard, at least on one occasion, someone suggest a straw as a way to send the liquid straight down your throat. "Does this method really work?" you're probably wondering. To answer your question, "yes and no." It may help prevent coffee stains from appearing on the visible areas of your teeth, but the acid still splashes against backs of them, leaving your enamel vulnerable to dangerous erosion. Once that protective layer starts to break down, you'll lose the best natural defense you have against not only stains, but also tooth decay. When using a straw, you should still remember to take additional precautions just to be safe.

Are Teeth Whitening Strips Overrated?

Using Whitening strips is certainly one method of getting rid of coffee stains if they happen to occur. However, you'll want to avoid using them as an excuse to gratify that coffee addiction. The problem is not that they don't work, but you should always be reluctant when considering any supermarket solutions. Some whitening strips are laced with an acid called chlorine dioxide, used to sanitize swimming pools. Inside your mouth, this substance does much more harm than good, eating away enamel and ruining the hard work you've invested into maintaining your impeccable oral hygiene.


The best way to protect your teeth is distancing yourself from all things espresso, but since that's not a reality for most coffee drinkers, cutting back on refills could also be helpful. Some sources, including NPR, say around three cups of coffee per day is acceptable. Of course, that won't help keep your enamel intact. The best alternative for combating stains and holding on to that winning smile is scheduling a consultation with Davis and Dingle Family Dentistry. 

Topics: Halitosis, teeth whitening