If you love coffee but you don’t like the thought that coffee may stain your teeth and potentially discolour those pearly whites, the number one thing you can do to help is to floss or use an interdental brush.
There is significant scientific evidence that shows drinking coffee on a regular basis benefits your overall well-being but if you are worried that it may be affecting how your teeth look then following some simple steps will help to avoid any discolouration in your teeth.
1. Drink equal amounts of water
Everyone knows that drinking a lot of water is important for maintaining good hydration levels and ensures you remain alert and with high levels of concentration throughout the day.
But not everyone knows that drinking coffee counts towards your daily water intake and actually helps to keep you hydrated in the same way that water does.
Problem is that a lot of people don’t really like the taste of water because it is a bit bland and boring so what I try and do is drink an equal amount of coffee and water.
2 litres of water tends to be the accepted ideal but if you are not keen on it then that can be pretty tough to maintain so I drink about 4-5 cups of coffee a day and about a litre of water a day on days that I don’t exercise and that keeps me pretty hydrated throughout each day.
I always keep a couple of bottles of 500ml still water on my desk and whenever I finish a coffee, I drink about half a bottle (250ml) of water straight after.
I do it mainly to keep me hydrated but it also helps to keep the tannins from the coffee sticking to my teeth and helps towards avoiding coffee staining on my teeth.
Here is some more information explaining in more detail how coffee helps to keep you hydrated throughout the day:
Regular cleaning of your teeth will certainly help to avoid coffee staining but even the best toothbrushes can’t get in between all the small gaps in your teeth and staining from all different types of food and drink can occur on the corners and in between your teeth in the places that brushes can’t get to.
My dentist always recommends flossing whenever I visit and she tells me that it is essential to healthy teeth and gums and is great for keeping teeth white as well.
The only problem is that I hate flossing. For some reason I can’t seem to be able to do it very well. It’s really fiddly to get that thin piece of nylon in between your teeth and move it up and down and it also takes absolutely ages as well.
The last time I went to the dentist I explained this and she told me that if flossing is too much of a pain then I should try using an interdental brush.
I’d never heard of it before but they are really thin dental sticks that you poke in between your teeth and move them up and down and in and out.
I find these much easier than floss so if you have tried flossing but it doesn’t work for you I’d recommend trying an interdental brush to keep your teeth and gums healthy and to help avoid coffee staining.
3. Get the dentist to clean your teeth every six months
No matter how hard you try, over time you will always get some plaque build-up.
Coffee and other food and drink products will stick to the plaque more than they will penetrate your teeth so getting the dentist to professionally clean and polish your teeth twice a year will help to avoid staining.
When you run your tongue over your teeth and can feel some roughness that’s plaque that the dentist will be able to remove.
If you have never done it then try it once and when you run your tongue over your teeth after it’s done you will notice a huge difference. Your teeth will feel super smooth.
Is it just coffee that can stain your teeth?
Definitely not. Many different foods and drink can be responsible for staining your teeth over time.
There is a long list of things that can impact the colour of your teeth as well as coffee but here is a list of some of the most common:
- Red Wine
- Coca Cola / Pepsi / Cola drinks in general
- Fizzy drinks
- Tomato Sauce
Following the recommended tips above will help with all of these things, not just coffee.
Can coffee damage your teeth?
There is a big difference between staining and damage.
If you don’t look after your teeth in the correct way then staining will occur but there is no evidence to support anything other than staining and nothing to suggest that coffee can damage your teeth.
Should you drink coffee through a straw?
There are some suggestions that drinking coffee through a straw may help to avoid staining but in reality, this is just nonsense.
It is just completely unrealistic to start drinking all of your coffee with a straw for several reasons.
If you don’t care what other people think about you then you can try and give it a go but when was the last time you saw anyone drinking a hot cup of coffee with a straw? Never right?
So first and foremost it just looks really weird using a straw to drink coffee and you may find stares coming your way in the coffee shop wondering what is going on.
If you drink coffee through a straw then there will be less contact between your teeth and the coffee and therefore it could in theory over a period of years help with staining if you don’t follow our tips to avoid staining in the first place.
But the most important thing about drinking hot coffee through a straw is that it completely ruins the experience of enjoying the flavour that each cup of coffee brings.
I tried it once because I was interested to see what it was like but I’ll never be going down that road again.
I like my coffee nice and hot and that’s not something you will be able to have if you go down the straw route because you will scold the back of your throat.
I found it really hard to suck out just a small amount and found that I burnt my mouth and throat by sucking up too much of the coffee through the straw.
Other than it being really hard not to burn yourself, arguably more important is that you can hardly taste anything!
If you suck up your coffee with a straw being careful to avoid any contact with your teeth then in my experience you get about 10% of the flavour you get by drinking it the normal way.
The taste buds on your tongue are the things that deliver the enjoyment and flavour to your brain.
Your tongue has your teeth all around it and so you can bypass most of your teeth and tongue with a straw but then you also bypass most of the flavour.
In summary, using a straw to drink your coffee is a waste of time and you are better off giving up coffee altogether than drinking it through a straw.
If you have decided that giving up coffee is completely out of the question then take a look at our guide explaining how to make a great cup of coffee.