Does coffee stain teeth, and will a morning cup of joe prevent you from having the pearly whites of your dreams?
It’s a common question — in fact, according to the most recent data, more than 5,000 Australian’s are searching for the same answer each month online. So then, is it worth kicking your once a day (or three times a day) ritual in pursuit of a brighter, whiter smile?
At Elevate Dental, we’ve seen more than our fair share of coffee-stained teeth. In fact, over the last decade, in-chair teeth whitening has been one of the fastest growing service offerings in our clinic. From coffee to red wine or simply poor dental hygiene, there are a myriad of reasons why teeth can become stained and lose their lustre over time.
In this article, we’ll answer the age-old question of whether coffee-stained teeth are solely symptomatic of coffee consumption, or whether there are steps you can take to prevent and treat teeth stained by coffee.
Table of Contents
- Does coffee stain teeth?
- Coffee and oral health/hygiene
- Black coffee vs. white coffee teeth staining
- Causes of coffee-stained teeth
- Preventing coffee-stained teeth
- Treating teeth stained by coffee
Does Coffee Stain Teeth?
Before we dive into things, let’s answer the question at hand.
Does coffee really stain your teeth or are there other factors that you should be more concerned about?
At the risk of overcomplicating things, coffee consumption is (unequivocally) one of the leading causes of teeth stains.
When built up over time, coffee’s natural staining agents can darken your teeth. But don’t fret – this kind of staining is external (on the outside of your teeth), and as such, is rarely permanent.
Your susceptibility to staining largely depends on how well your favourite dark brew gets along with your overall oral hygiene routine.
Coffee and Oral Health/Hygiene
Whilst the association between stained teeth and coffee is unequivocal, what are the other implications around coffee and oral health & hygiene?
According to the latest data, around three-quarters of Australian’s indulgence in at least one cup of coffee to start the day. Whether it’s a long-held morning ritual or you’re weening off energy drinks, coffee and oral hygiene is a necessary consideration.
Aside from the obvious implications of coffee and stained teeth, other factors that are worth considering when it comes to coffee consumption and holistic oral health include:
How coffee impacts oral health & hygiene
- Increased risk of cavities & tooth decay
- Acidic plaque can cause premature enamel wear on teeth
- Potential to aggravate sore gums and onset of periodontal disease
- Negative impact on saliva flow in mouth – I.e. cotton mouth/dry mouth feeling
- Bad breath (halitosis)
Oral health complications from coffee consumption (beyond teeth staining) is often overlooked. Remember, holistic oral health goes beyond a ‘white smile’ and includes factors that aren’t perceptible to the casual observer.
Black Coffee vs. White Coffee & Teeth Staining
Black coffee vs. white coffee – is there really a difference when it comes to teeth staining? It’s the (not so obvious) consideration when it comes to drinking coffee and white teeth.
To many, the natural assumption is that stained teeth from coffee consumption is a direct result of black coffee consumption i.e. long black, americano, short black, espresso, filter brew.
However, for flat white and iced coffee lovers, the news isn’t as positive as you may hope.
White coffee consumption and teeth staining are inexplicably linked. Yes, milk in white coffee adds a new buffer between the dark coffee which has a direct staining effect on teeth, however, it does not entirely negate the damage.
As a rule of thumb, white coffee causes (slightly) less staining than black coffee in a side by side, size-for-size comparison. However, white coffee blends will still cause your teeth to stain over periods of prolonged consumption.
Causes of Coffee-Stained Teeth
The causes of coffee stains on teeth are (of course) a result of regular coffee consumption. However, there are other factors to consider that can either aggravate or mitigate the staining caused by coffee consumption.
Some of the factors that cause coffee stains on teeth include:
- Darker coffee blends (black coffee)
- Poor dental hygiene (i.e. not brushing after drinking coffee)
- Not drinking water whilst consuming coffee
- Excessive coffee consumption
- Coffee strength (darker colour = higher staining potential)
Preventing Coffee-Stained Teeth
All this may sound pretty grim, right?
It’s not all bad; there are several practical and easy approaches you can take to prevent coffee from staining your teeth including:
- Practise Good Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing, flossing, and mouthwash use, after drinking coffee plays an important role in preventing coffee-stained teeth.
- Drink Plenty of Water: When it comes to preventing stains on your teeth, water is your greatest ally. Water rinses away staining compounds and maintains saliva flow, so remember to keep a glass or bottle handy when drinking coffee.
- Drink Through a Straw: Drinking coffee through a straw is an effective way to reduce tooth staining. Whilst it may seem like a hassle, keeping a straw (paper, of course) handy can significantly reduce the impact on your teeth.
- Limit Your Consumption: As with all forms of consumption, moderating your intake of coffee is key. Limiting the quantity and frequency of your coffee consumption will lower the risk of stained teeth staining.
- Reduce Your Sugar Intake: Adding sugar to your coffee isn’t just a sure-fire way to get in your barista’s bad books, it will also amplify the negative effects of coffee consumption on your teeth.
Treating Teeth Stained By Coffee
If you’ve read this far, chances are you’re looking for a way to treat coffee-stained teeth. As we touched on above, coffee stains are one of the most common grievances that patients have with their smile, so we’ve made it our business to reduce those insecurities.
Some of the most effective ways that you can treat teeth that have been stained by coffee and restore your dental health include:
- Regular dental check-ups: as we touched on above, regular dental check-ups go beyond the cosmetics and monitor unseen issues that can lead to serious (and costly) dental issues down the line.
- Teeth whitening: In-chair teeth whitening treatments for coffee stains is a simple and inexpensive way to restore the natural, white appearance of teeth.
- Up your dental hygiene routine: If you’ve invested in teeth whitening, then it makes sense to up your dental hygiene routine to ensure longevity – even in the midst of coffee consumption.
- Reduce coffee consumption: We know, easier said than done, however, reducing your coffee consumption is one of the most effective ways to treat coffee staining at the source. If possible, reduce your consumption or switch to non-staining alternatives.
Australians are well and truly obsessed with coffee. With three in four of us dedicated to our daily coffee consumption ritual and an average intake of two kilograms per year, it would be remiss of us to order you to cease consumption.
With that said, we know with certainty that stained teeth is a direct result of regular coffee consumption. So, the tips outlined in this article provide an actionable framework for treating and preventing coffee-stained teeth.
Need someone to take care of those stains? Elevate Dental has provided industry-leading teeth cleaning and whitening services for over 30 years. There’s no coffee stain we can’t clean out, so if you’ve become a victim of the brew that you love so much, you can trust us to take care of it.