As much as we all love a hot cup of coffee in a late winter evening or a sparkling iced one in summer mornings, the stain it leaves on our teeth is always a trouble to remove. The taste, fresh aroma and warmth of the beans make us long for it more. But, we often don’t realize the discolouration it brings to our pearly whites. As time passes by, this ignorance not only kills our beautiful smile but also leads to a decaying oral health. Since ‘prevention is always better than cure’, let’s look into some unique and unusual ways to keep coffee stains at bay!
Why it stains?
Our teeth naturally come with an outer layer called ‘Enamel’ which plays an essential role in preventing coffee stain. This protective coating prevents the stain from going into deeper layers of the teeth. The micro coffee substances can get stuck in the small pores of Enamel due to frequent consumption and eventually create an extrinsic stain. Lack of proper precautions and preventions can make this outer stain penetrate deeper causing harmful intrinsic stain which can turn into tartar. The tartar can have a severe adverse effect on our oral health.
Image source: Inspiring Smiles Dentistry
Now, let’s dive into the ways by which we can prevent coffee from staining our pearly whites.
1. A straw helps!
Dentists recommend using a straw while sipping your favourite cup of coffee. While the teeth inevitably come in contact of the coffee particles even after using a straw, it helps to push the liquid towards the inner portion of our mouth. Due to this, the front teeth are less likely to get exposed to the stain and we will be able to save ourselves from an embarrassing yellow smile!
Image source:Impeccable Smiles
The inner teeth will still have a possibility to come in contact with the coffee particles. But, a straw will at least help to move the coffee directly inwards. This will eliminate its movement in the entire mouth and hence, will reduce risks of severe staining.
2. Avoid sugar.
Having a lot of sugar in your coffee will not only decay your teeth but also make it stain heavily due to its sticky property. If you are not fond of anything sugarless, you can start with moderate quantity and gradually decrease the same. If initially, your coffee contains sugar, make sure you brush immediately.
3. Chew a chewing gum!
Whenever we consume food, acid forms inside our mouth while breaking it down into smaller particles. These acids, if allowed to stay longer, stain the Enamel and can create further tooth decay penetrating into deeper layers.
American Dental Association has stated that the mere act of chewing increase the flow of saliva in our mouth. Saliva helps in neutralizing and removing the acids formed inside. It also comes with phosphate and calcium which can strengthen the Enamel. ADA advises chewing a sugar-free gum after food as it can really enhance the salivary flow.
So, keep some sugar free gums handy and make a habit of chewing one for 20 minutes after each cup of coffee. While it can’t replace brushing, you will at least have a quick fix ready for outdoors.
4. Brush with baking soda.
Baking soda has the capability to remove coffee stains and can whiten teeth easily. You can mix a small amount of baking soda with your regular toothpaste and brush your teeth after you sip coffee (or even tea for that matter). You can also use it individually after squeezing some lemon on it. Make sure to refrain from overdoing it as this can also adversely affect the Enamel. If you have sensitive teeth or wear retainers/ braces, do not use it at all.
Image source: Medical News Today
If used properly, baking soda can indeed help you keep those stubborn, surface stains at bay.
5. Don’t skip flossing.
Let’s be real. If you are a ‘coffeeholic’, then even brushing two times a day can’t keep all the stains away. Since the leftovers after brushing can turn into tartar soon, it may have a detrimental effect on your oral health. Tartar will cause further infections in your pearly whites which nobody wants. So a better way to keep your teeth healthy is flossing. You may not be able to do it 3 times a day, but make sure you do it at least once in two days for better results.
Image source: MNN
6. Consider charcoal.
Apart from having several skin benefits, activated charcoal is also effective in the prevention of stains. Being an exceptional whitening agent, it can extensively remove powerful plaque and extrinsic stains which are the root cause of oral discolouration. It also improves our oral health maintaining a healthy pH balance. This, in turn, makes room for good and useful bacteria to grow inside the mouth.
Some precautionary measures must be taken in using activated charcoal as it is slightly abrasive in nature just like baking soda. So it is not advisable to use it continuously for more than 4 days in a row, as it can hamper the Enamel.
Image source: BBC Good Food
A prolonged ignorance in dealing with teeth discolouration can place you in critical dental emergencies. The residual plaque can attract more and more stains and without even you realizing it, things may get worse. Once the situation becomes critical, it may only be fixed with surgical interventions which will be possible only after sedating you with the help of a nasal hood. Though dental sedation has made the dental procedures pain and anxiety free, still it’s better to take care of your oral health.
The simple, unique and easy techniques mentioned above will surely improve your oral hygiene. Let’s feel the difference & bring our smiles back!