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Coffee Stains On Teeth: Related Risks And How To Remove Them

| Reviewed By Dr. Arya Krishnan

Every year, International Coffee Day is celebrated on 1 October. The exact origin of International Coffee Day is unknown. Globally, the day is observed on 1 October but in certain countries, there is National Coffee Day, specific to each nation. In India, the day was observed on 29 September but will continue till 1 October.

On this International Coffee Day, let's discuss one of the major aspects related to coffee - coffee stain! If you are an avid devotee of anything caffeine, you are not new to the term coffee stains. Be it on your white shirt or your pearly teeth, these stains are not pretty; and health-wise it is not worth the amazing dose of caffeine kick you get every time you take a sip from a freshly brewed coffee.

Curious? Read on to know the ways coffee stains can impact your overall health - especially if you are a coffee addict.

How Drinking Coffee Can Affect Your Dental Health

Various studies have pointed out the hard-hitting truth - drinking coffee on a regular basis can negatively impact your dental health. Your morning routine can be an enemy to your health because, coffee contains ingredients called tannins (also found in wine and tea), which are a type of polyphenol that breaks down in water [1] .

These tannins are responsible for the creation of colour compounds which stick on to your teeth and leave a yellow hue behind. Regular or even one cup of coffee a day can cause coffee-stained teeth.

The enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body and is unevenly structured (not flat and smooth) and contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink [2] . And when you drink coffee regularly, the pigments from this dark-coloured drink get caught in the cracks and can cause permanent, yellowing stains on your teeth.

8 Best Natural Remedies To Treat Receding Gums

How To Get Rid Of Coffee Stains?

Considering the harm coffee stains can have on teeth, you may even think of doing the unspeakable - giving up coffee. But let me tell you that there are ways you can get rid of these ugly stains from your pearly whites.

Your dentist can help get rid off the coffee stain from your teeth during regular cleaning sessions. So, make sure to schedule regular appointments. Brushing your teeth with toothpaste and whitening strips that contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide can also help get rid of the stain [3] .

Baking soda: Brushing your teeth with baking soda twice a month can help get rid of the yellow stains [4] .

How to: Combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water. Mix it to form a paste and brush your teeth.

Coconut oil pulling: Coconut oil helps in neutralising the excess acid inside your mouth and wash out the pigments and particles from coffee. Oil pulling with coconut oil is extremely beneficial for maintaining oral health [5] .

How to: Take in the coconut oil in your mouth. Swish it in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes, letting it go between your teeth. Spit out the oil and brush your teeth with a mild toothpaste or coconut oil toothpaste.

Activated charcoal: The plaque absorbing nature of activated charcoal is said to play the central role in this process. The horrid case of yellow teeth can be treated with the toxin-absorbing property of activated charcoal [6] .

How to: Simply brush the mixture on, let it sit, then rinse and brush as normal.

Apple cider vinegar: When used with care and attention, apple cider vinegar can help lighten the yellow shade and get rid of the coffee stains from your teeth.

7 Fascinating Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

How to: Put a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in your mouth and swish it around. Keep doing it for 10 minutes, then rinse and brush as normal. Make sure you brush with toothpaste right after, since excess acid can cause erosion of tooth enamel [7] .

How To Prevent Coffee Stains?

As we know now, coffee stains are one of the most common causes of stains on teeth and the best means of preventing coffee stains are mentioned below [8] .

  • Add milk to your coffee; milk from cow or goats is high in protein that binds to the polyphenols in coffee. Instead of attaching to and staining your teeth, the polyphenols move on to the stomach, where they can then be swiftly broken down
  • Brush your teeth with whitening toothpaste
  • Floss regularly
  • Use a straw to drink your coffee and make it a steel or paper straw - so that there is no waste
  • Sip water between cups of coffee
  • Chew sugar-free gum
  • Drink a coffee with less caffeine

Other Side Effects Of Coffee

Apart from making your teeth look like a less-bright sun, coffee can cause various other side effects on you and they are as follows [9] [10] :

  • Drinking coffee can cause bacteria to grow in your mouth which can lead to tooth and enamel erosion - making your teeth brittle and thin
  • Coffee can also cause bad breath or halitosis

12 Foods That Fight Halitosis (Bad Breath)

On A Final Note...

You do not have to give up your habit of drinking coffee. Just make sure to consider the preventive measures and a regular schedule set for dental check-ups and cleaning sessions.

Infographics by Sharan Jayanth

FAQs On Coffee-stained Teeth

Q. Does coffee stain teeth less if you add cream?

A. While it may seem that lighter coloured coffee would stain less, the same pigments and acids are present in coffee with cream as black coffee. Therefore, adding any sort of whitener to your coffee will not prevent your teeth from becoming stained [8] .

Q. What other foods and drinks can stain teeth?

A. Red wine, berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries), tomato and tomato sauces, colas, black tea, popsicles, hard candy and sports drinks etc.

Q. Does drinking coffee through a straw prevent teeth staining?

A. Yes. It can help keep stains away when you drink soda, juice, or iced coffee or tea as the liquid won't get near the visible front surfaces of your teeth.

Q. Should you brush your teeth before or after coffee?

A. Yes, it helps in getting rid of the yellow stain. Brush your teeth about 30 minutes after drinking coffee, and only after rinsing your mouth with water. Remember, coffee is acidic. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking anything acidic weakens tooth enamel and causes staining [2] .

View Article References
  1. [1] Moynihan, P., Makino, Y., Petersen, P. E., & Ogawa, H. (2018). Implications of WHO Guideline on Sugars for dental health professionals. Community dentistry and oral epidemiology, 46(1), 1-7.
  2. [2] Aguiar, F. H. B., Pini, N. P., Lima, D. A. N. L., & Lovadino, J. R. (2015). Effect of Coffee Consumption on Oral Health. In Coffee in Health and Disease Prevention (pp. 517-521). Academic Press.
  3. [3] Song, I. S., Han, K., Ryu, J. J., Choi, Y. J., & Park, J. B. (2018). Coffee intake as a risk indicator for tooth loss in Korean adults. Scientific reports, 8(1), 2392.
  4. [4] Olak, J., Nguyen, M. S., Nguyen, T. T., Nguyen, B. B. T., & Saag, M. (2018). The influence of mothers’ oral health behaviour and perception thereof on the dental health of their children. EPMA Journal, 9(2), 187-193.
  5. [5] Duarte, P. M., & Reis, A. F. (2015). Coffee consumption has no deleterious effects on periodontal health but its benefits are uncertain. Journal of Evidence Based Dental Practice, 15(2), 77-79.
  6. [6] Brooks, J. K., Bashirelahi, N., & Reynolds, M. A. (2017). More on charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices. The Journal of the American Dental Association, 148(11), 785.
  7. [7] Kausar, S., Humayun, A., Ahmed, Z., Abbas, M. A., & Tahir, A. (2019). Effect of Apple Cider Vinegar on Glycemic Control, Hyperlipidemia and Control on Body Weight in Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Health Sciences, 8(5), 59-74.
  8. [8] Dewanti, I. D. A. R., Susilawati, I. D. A., Lestari, P. E., Lestari, R. W. E., Wulandari, E., Budirahardjo, R., ... & Wibisono, S. (2019). Robusta Coffee (Coffeacanephora) Decreasing IL-1α (Interleukin-1α) Expression and Increasing the Number of Fibroblasts in Healing Process in Dental Pulp in Wistar Rats. Journal of Mathematical and Fundamental Sciences, 51(1), 68-76.
  9. [9] Nanri, H., Yamada, Y., Itoi, A., Yamagata, E., Watanabe, Y., Yoshida, T., ... & Kikutani, T. (2019). Consumption of green tea but not coffee is associated with the oral health-related quality of life among an older Japanese population: Kyoto-Kameoka cross-sectional study. European journal of clinical nutrition, 73(4), 577.
  10. [10] da Silva Fidalgo, T. K., Fonseca-Gonçalves, A., Goldemberg, D. C., & Maia, L. C. (2019). Effect of Coffee on Oral Bacteria Involved in Dental Caries and Periodontal Disease. In Coffee (pp. 255-264).
Arya KrishnanGeneral Medicine
Arya Krishnan
Read more about: oral health
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