Statistically speaking, it’s more likely than not that you enjoy coffee. In fact, it’s pretty likely you can’t even envisage your morning without the stuff. For most coffee-lovers, it’s less of a beverage and more of a religion. Making it great news that doctors and scientists now recommend drinking up to 5 cups of coffee a day, in order to gain maximum benefit from its caffeine and other compounds.
Unfortunately, there’s one rather glaring downside to coffee consumption that can put a real dampener on the whole thing. You love coffee, but you’d also prefer to maintain a mouthful of shiny white teeth. The problem being that coffee is one of the single most effective substances known to man, when it comes to yellowing and generally staining teeth.
So what’s the solution? Quit drinking coffee for life? Accept that you’re destined for yellow teeth and just throw caution to the wind?
Mercifully, the answer in both instances is…no.
Instead, there are various ways and means by which you can effectively prevent the coffee you consume from staining your teeth. Enjoy your favourite beverage in accordance with the following guidelines and there’s no reason why you can’t have your cake and eat it too, as they say:
1. Drink Through a Straw
First up, drinking coffee through a straw always feels a little bit on the weird side at first. It can also take some getting used to when consuming hot coffee, in order to avoid burning the living daylights out of your mouth. Nevertheless – and just as is the same case with red wine – drinking through a straw helps minimise the amount of coffee that comes into direct contact with your teeth. Hence, it can help prevent stains.
2. Rinse with Whitening Mouthwash
Even the best mouthwash for whiter teeth isn’t going to work any miracles. But when it comes to stain prevention, it can certainly have an impressive effect. The idea being that if and when possible, you reach for a gentle yet effective mouthwash after drinking coffee with the added bonus being that along with reducing the likelihood of tooth discolouration, it will also get rid of those nasty coffee stains from your breath.
3. Brush Your Teeth
The single most effective way to prevent teeth becoming discoloured over time is to simply brush them properly and professionally. Grab yourself a seriously capable and dentist recommended electric toothbrush, a high-quality toothpaste and get busy with the brushing two or three times a day. Be careful not to be too energetic or abrasive however, as this can actually increase the likelihood of your teeth succumbing to stains.
4. Always Floss
Brushing is important, but so too is flossing. There are so many hard to reach areas and crevices between the teeth that without commitment to flossing, you are guaranteed to experience discolouration soon enough. The problem being that once it sets in, it’s usually too late to do anything about it. That is, without resorting to more extreme measures and whitening treatments.
5. Don’t Let Dairy Fool You
You’d be forgiven for thinking that black coffee diluted with cream, milk and so on wouldn’t be nearly as harmful for your teeth in terms of staining potential. In reality, cream and sugar added to coffee simply make the whole thing worse. Ask any dentist and they’ll tell you that for the sake of your oral health, it’s actually better to consume black coffee. Far too many people wrongly believe that lighter-coloured coffee means less potential for staining, but this really isn’t the case at all.
6. Drink it Quick
If consuming a particularly delicious coffee, it’s natural to want to prolong the pleasure for as long as possible. Nevertheless, the longer it takes you to drink it, the more time it has to wreak havoc with your pearly whites. Just as is the case with chocolates and sweets in general, dentists typically recommend getting them down your neck as quickly as possible. This helps minimise exposure to the harmful substances you’re trying to avoid, though can admittedly take some of the pleasure out of the equation. Still, it’s a case of weighing up your priorities!
7. Whiten Your Teeth
These days, there are some fantastic DIY whitening kits and products on the market that are rated as comprehensively safe to use and surprisingly effective. As such, if you do find yourself looking at a mouthful of teeth that are not the ideal colour – in your mind at least – there’s nothing to stop you reaching for a whitening kit. That said, the vast majority of whitening kits are certainly not designed to be used on an on-going or particularly frequent basis. That is, unless you are happy to risk permanently damaging your teeth.
8. Stay Hydrated
For the sake of your oral health and the rest of your body in general, it’s good to get into the habit of drinking a glass of water alongside every coffee. Depending on the type of coffee you drink, every cup may actually be dehydrating your body. When your body is dehydrated, your mouth produces less saliva and therefore has less protection against harmful elements. If nothing else, try to rinse your mouth out with a little water after consuming coffee.
9. Chew Gum
Sugar-free chewing gum can be absolutely fantastic for encouraging the mouth to produce significantly more saliva. After eating or drinking anything that has the potential to harm your teeth, dentists comprehensively recommend reaching for a stick of gum. A great way of reducing the staining potential of coffee.
10. Reach for the Fruit
Last but not least, another effective way of preventing or in some instances reversing the damage done by the coffee you consume is to reach for a piece of fruit or a raw vegetable. Snacking on things like raw carrots, apples, celery and so on has a naturally abrasive action on the teeth, while at the same time stimulating the production of saliva. An excellent habit to get into for the sake of your overall head-to-toe health.