Coffee And Your Teeth
That delicious cup of coffee that jumpstarts your day is affecting your teeth in more than one way. At Spokane Dental, we know prevention is key. Here are some useful tips to keep that delicious cup of Joe guilt free:
Coffee Stains Teeth
If you are an avid coffee drinker, you may have noticed the staining that can appear on the teeth over time. You may notice dark staining between the teeth, or along the gum line, which can be due to coffee intake. However, the more subtle staining can go unnoticed: a yellowish tinge to the teeth in general that builds gradually over time.
The good news about tooth staining? It is absolutely treatable and preventable. In “how to care for your teeth” we have some useful tips on preventing coffee stain, and there are several ways to treat the staining that’s already there:
A dental cleaning will remove all surface, or extrinsic, stain from the teeth. This will noticeably brighten your smile, and all of that extra dark staining between the teeth or along the gum line will be gone.
Intrinsic stain may also be a problem that can be resolved with help from Spokane Dental. Intrinsic tooth stain is when the discoloration penetrates the surface of the tooth (as opposed to sitting on top of it), causing the entire visible area to have a yellowish hue. At Spokane Dental we can make custom fitting whitening trays and supply professional grade tooth whitening serum that will take care of intrinsic stain and get you the white smile you’ve always wanted.
Coffee Is Acidic
Acidic food and drink, especially consumed over long periods of time, can compromise enamel strength. Essentially, acidic drinks erode the enamel over time, weakening it and making it more prone to cavities. Unfortunately, tooth erosion is not reversible, although it is preventable (prevention is covered in the next section). The side effects of erosion can be managed with help from Dr. Smith and our Spokane Dental team. Here are some helpful ways to treat side effects of tooth erosion:
- Switch up your toothpaste: Using a toothpaste with active ingredients specifically for tooth sensitivity can greatly help with the painful sensitivity that often goes along with tooth erosion.
- It’s all about the fluoride: Exposing teeth to as much fluoride as possible as often as possible will help protect the existing enamel. We can provide you with a prescription level fluoride toothpaste to combat cavities and protect enamel, or you can use a fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinse at home.
How To Care For Your Teeth While Drinking Coffee: Prevention Is Key
Preventing tooth staining and enamel erosion is key for optimal dental health. There are several ways to prevent both problems before they happen, or from getting worse:
The longer coffee is on the teeth, the more opportunity to stain. Some ways to limit stain potential and time:
- Drink Coffee through a straw
- Finish coffee in one sitting, instead of sipping throughout the day
- Rinse with water after finishing coffee
Acidity can wreak havoc on healthy (or already compromised) enamel. Here are ways to prevent erosion from damaging enamel:
- Rinse with water after drinking coffee, but wait to brush. We know, it seems counterintuitive, but brushing after drinking coffee can actually be harder on enamel than not brushing. The reasoning? After an acidic drink, enamel is already compromised. The mechanical act of brushing the teeth can be hard on the enamel when it is in a compromised state. Brushing teeth a while before coffee consumption can actually be better for teeth: strengthening enamel with fluoride as well as removing any plaque that coffee may stick to.
- Cut out the sugar: Acidity + Sugar = a recipe for enamel erosion. The plaque (bacteria) on the teeth feed on sugar, and then excretes acidic compounds that eat away at enamel, causing cavities. Adding in more acidity as well as sugar in this environment makes the absolute perfect atmosphere for cavities and enamel erosion. Cutting out (or back) on sugar can make a big difference in protecting teeth.
- Less time = More Protection: As with staining, the less time that coffee or an acidic drink is on the enamel, the better. Instead of sipping all day (or all morning), sit down and enjoy your cup of coffee and then be done with it. The less time enamel is exposed to the acid, the better.
Need help treating your coffee staining, or tooth sensitivity? We are just a call away! Reach us at (509)822-5614 to treat all your dental needs.