If you’re a coffee-lover, you know how it makes your pearly whites yellow over time. You might have thought about dropping this habit altogether but in vain. Rather you would have realized that coffee or coffee pods are just not worth quitting in any way.
Coffee has innumerable benefits besides making you alert and energetic, but doesn’t everything has some downsides to it? The fact that its benefits outweigh its drawbacks is one of the reasons why it’s the second most consumed beverage in the world.
Coffee contains compounds called polyphenols (tannins, to be specific) that are responsible for staining your teeth. Your enamel, the hard, white, outer layer of teeth, is a porous structure which means it contains tiny microscopic gaps. Whatever food or drink you consume can get stuck in those gaps and result in an extrinsic stain. These stains can be removed easily as long as they don’t penetrate into deeper layers of your teeth.
Here are 5 effective tips to prevent stain build-up without having to quit coffee:
Use a Straw
If you drink coffee from a cup or thermos like most people, it’s more likely that coffee is washing over all your teeth before you swallow it, especially the front teeth that make up your smile.
Drinking coffee through a straw is a good way of minimizing contact with your teeth. Your molars might still get stained, but the front teeth will be saved from tannin attack.
Cold coffee drinks usually do come with a straw, but not the hot ones. So it might seem strange to you at first, but if you are trying to prevent staining, this is definitely one of the most effective ways.
When going to class or work, grab a plastic straw and put it in your coffee cup because you know you won’t be able to brush your teeth right after finishing that cup of coffee.
A little splash of milk can remarkably transform your coffee in every way.
Milk contains proteins that bind to the polyphenols(staining compounds) in coffee, preventing them from attaching to the enamel.
These polyphenols, bonded with milk, can move on to the stomach where they can then be broken down during digestion.
The important thing to remember would be that only animal milk does the trick. Soy milk, though it tastes the same, does not contain the same kinds of proteins and does not work. In fact, it’s also believed that the higher the fat content in milk, the more effective it will be.
A study from the International Journal of Dental Hygiene showed that the main protein in milk that binds to tannins in tea and prevents stainings casein. In fact, the researchers claim that it may work even better than whitening toothpaste.
The longer you expose tannins in coffee to your teeth, the more they deposit in enamel. A person who finishes his coffee in five minutes is prone to less staining than a person who takes two hours, constantly sipping little amounts after every few minutes.
“Sip all day, Get decay” is the phrase used for sugary drinks. But it also stands true for all tannin-containing beverages as they are acidic in nature and can even erode the enamel if consumed in excess. So drink your coffee as quickly as possible to decrease the time period for tannins to act on your teeth, but don’t burn your mouth in the process.
Though caffeine might be the sole reason you drink coffee in the first place, it’s preferable if you cut down on caffeine as much as you can. All caffeinated beverages stain teeth, whether its green tea, black tea or coffee, and ultimately, the amount of caffeine in your drink may even determine how much your teeth will stain.
The amount of caffeine is directly related to the level of polyphenols in your coffee. Reduced caffeine means fewer polyphenols and therefore less staining.
The way you prepare coffee also affects its properties. Coffee is brewed in a percolator is less likely to stain your teeth than a coffee brewed in a French press. A cold brew will have the least effect on teeth while a Turkish brew, the most.
Practicing good oral hygiene is perhaps the most effective way to avoid coffee stains on your teeth. The best thing you can do to fight plaque and remove tannins that cling to your teeth after having a cup of coffee has to be brushing and flossing.
Although this is something that has to be done twice a day regardless of what you eat, make sure you brush your teeth when you finish your cup of coffee to remove all the staining off of your teeth before it stays there for good, eventually staining your teeth permanently.
Remember to brush at least an hour after drinking because the acid in coffee can actually soften the enamel on your teeth in some cases. If you start brushing right away, you could be actually brushing away your enamel.
Rinse with water
If you can’t brush your teeth right after having coffee, make sure you at least swish your mouth with a little water. This could help to remove any residue that might be stuck to your teeth and might even help freshen that sour coffee breath.
So those are the tricks on how to keep your teeth white as a coffee drinker. “Get Coffee Be Happy!”
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