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How to Avoid Coffee-Stained Teeth

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4 Ways to Avoid Coffee Stains on Teeth

You have probably heard a lot of things about coffee that just aren't true: It won't stunt your growth, it isn't necessarily bad for you and it isn't better when it's picked out of a rodent's hindquarters—but it will stain your teeth if you're not careful.

1. Drink as much water as you do coffee. 

Drinking coffee and water sip-for-sip is a good idea for keeping your pearly whites, white. A mouthful-sized swish of water after you're done drinking coffee will do the trick—but if you're anything like me and you're constantly refilling your coffee cup, keeping a glass of water handy isn't a bad idea. A simple sip of water after a sip of coffee will help wash away most of what's there, and hey—drinking water can help you feel energized and ready for the challenges in the day ahead.

MYTH: Using a straw will prevent stains

Dentist Mark Burhenne explains that even when using a straw, the coffee will still hit the back of your teeth, which can be even worse. Quite simply, "If you've tasted the [coffee], the teeth have been exposed."   

2. Floss every day.

The primary cause for stain on the edges of teeth is that people don't floss, and plaque/calculus builds up interproximally (in between) teeth. This very porous material holds stain infinitely better than a tooth does.

MYTH: Brushing your teeth after drinking coffee will prevent stains

It may seem like common sense that brushing your teeth after a cup of coffee is the easiest way to prevent coffee stains, but the acidity of coffee softens enamel. Brushing when the enamel is soft will strip your teeth, causing them to become more porous—and therefore become more easily susceptible to staining. 

3. Avoid teeth whitening strips.

For the same reason as waiting thirty minutes after drinking coffee—chemical agents in teeth whitening strips will make your teeth more porous and will absorb more coffee, creating stains. 

4. Get your teeth cleaned every six months, professionally. 

This may seem obvious, but it's important to know why: It's the plaque that gets stained by coffee, not the teeth themselves. Coffee staining means you have plaque, which the dentist can remove with a professional teeth cleaning.

Put it to the test! There isn't a magical way to instantly reverse any yellowing that has already happened. However, applying these tips every day will help prevent coffee stains on teeth, and over the course of time, improve and whiten your smile!

[Featured Image Credit: Mikail Duran via Unsplash]

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