Coffee Lovers Listen Up: How to Prevent Stains on Your Teeth

Coffee Lovers Listen Up: How to Prevent Stains on Your Teeth
profile picture of Licensed DDS
Coffee Lovers Listen Up: How to Prevent Stains on Your TeethClinical Content Reviewed by Licensed DDS
Last Modified:

Clinical content featured by Byte is reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to help ensure clinical accuracy.

We follow strict sourcing guidelines and each page contains a full list of sources for complete transparency.

Table of Contents

  1. How Coffee Stains Form
  2. Preventing Coffee Stains
  3. Removing Coffee Stains
  4. References
Drinking coffee is one way to ensure that you will have to deal with stains on your teeth. There are tactics to employ to limit staining, and there are methods to de-stain teeth. Taking care of your teeth with regular visits to the dentist is one proven strategy.

Why Does Coffee Stain Your Teeth & How Coffee Stains Form

Roasted coffee contains micronutrients (polyphenols) known as tannins. Tannins are potently antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. But in coffee, they are acknowledged as chromogenic agents that enable color compounds to stick to your teeth. 

Drinking one cup of coffee a day is enough to make your teeth develop a yellow hue. Tannins break down in the water and are absorbed into your enamel, where they can accumulate if unchecked. They do not discolor teeth, but they allow other staining agents to be absorbed by the enamel and dentin.

Some studies tell us that drinking an acidic beverage before your cup of coffee can worsen the degree of tooth discoloration. Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid (CGA) compounds that can cause the external discoloration of the enamel.

Coffee industries do not pay much attention to proper smoke disposal, so most of the smoke produced during the roasting process ends up re-deposited onto the coffee beans during the pyrolysis stage. It causes their color to change from brown to black and increases their tannin levels.

How to Prevent Coffee Stains

The best way to prevent coffee stains is to quit the beverage entirely. However, there are other ways to minimize tooth discoloration without giving up your morning cup of coffee. 

Limit Your Coffee Intake

Green tea is a healthy alternative that you can substitute your coffee with. It provides long-lasting mental alertness without the baggage of energy crashes and stained teeth. 

If you must drink coffee, limit your intake to two cups a day.

Use a Straw

Using a straw for iced coffee is not a foolproof way to avoid coffee stains because your back teeth are still affected. But the practice can keep coffee stains away from your most visible teeth. On the downside, your back teeth are harder to keep clean and will require regular dental checkups to prevent discoloration. 

Add Creamer or Milk

Dairy products contain the protein casein, which attaches to tannins in coffee and prevents them from getting onto your enamel. Creamer can speed up the growth of discoloring bacteria in your mouth.

The same applies to sugar, so take these items in moderation as they can speed up the discoloration of your teeth.

Switch to Decaf

Drinking coffee that has little or no caffeine reduces the amount of tannins your teeth come into contact with.

Drink Coffee in One Sitting

Practice drinking coffee in one sitting instead of taking little sips throughout the day. This way, you can prevent bacteria and tannin buildup, and it will be easier to rinse out your mouth after each cup of coffee.

Drink a Cup of Water

Make a habit of drinking some water after your coffee. This allows you to rinse out any residual tannins before they have a chance to settle on your enamel. 

Brush Regularly

Although brushing your teeth after meals is recommended to prevent plaque buildup, it is not always advisable to do so immediately after you eat or drink something acidic. Brushing your teeth after an acidic meal or beverage will wear down your enamel and promote tooth discoloration.

There are better ways to clean your teeth after drinking coffee, so if you can avoid brushing immediately afterwards, it’s far more beneficial.

However, brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is the key to preventing plaque and bacteria buildup in your mouth.

Eat Certain Foods

Strawberries, lemons, carrots, and other raw produce contain large quantities of natural fibers that can break down bad bacteria. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables raw, therefore, counts as a way to prevent the accumulation of tooth discoloring bacteria in your mouth.

Visit a Dentist Regularly

Seeing a dentist once every six months can help you stay on top of any coffee stains on your teeth, whether you’re an avid java lover or a casual drinker. It is not an excuse to drink more coffee, but it is a surefire way to keep your oral hygiene in check regardless of your lifestyle.

A recent study found that 80% of Americans between 18 and 49 wish their teeth were whiter.

How to Remove Coffee Stains

Fortunately, coffee stains are rarely permanent. It is possible to rid of them using various home remedies or by visiting a dentist. Deeper stains may require professional cleaning, but the outcome is often positive.

Here are some ways to get rid of coffee stains permanently.

Brush with Baking Soda

Brush with a small amount of baking soda mixed with two drops of hydrogen peroxide to form a runny paste. This mixture is the most potent homemade stain remover that does not erode the enamel. Brush twice a day for best results.

Go Electric

Switch to an electric toothbrush to get more cleaning power for daily stain removal.

Pull Coconut Oil

Coconut oil pulling is an effective way to prevent plaque and gingivitis, and many studies report that it can prevent tooth decay if used regularly. Pulling coconut oil will also help you with coffee stains since the oil has strong antibacterial properties. Coconut oil also has a whitening effect on enamel, and it can neutralize excess acid in your mouth. 

Brush Twice a Day

Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes is a recommended oral hygiene practice. It is doubly important if you’re an avid coffee drinker as it prevents the accumulation of tannins and discoloring bacteria. Brushing your teeth regularly also prevents halitosis (bad breath), and a regular side effect of drinking coffee is ‘coffee breath.’

Use Whitening Toothpaste and Strips

Although using whitening strips to remove coffee stains is an idea that works, it can be damaging to your enamel. Coffee’s acidic pH leaves the enamel weakened, and using the strong chemicals in whitening strips can lead to more damage. The solution is to use ADA-approved OTC strips after consulting your dentist.

Get Whitening Trays

At-home whitening trays are extremely effective in removing stains and yellow spots on your enamel and dentin. It helps that they are custom-fitted to match your dental configuration to avoid harming your gums.

Visit a Dentist

No matter what else you incorporate, getting a professional teeth-cleaning once every six months is the single best way to avoid coffee stains on teeth.

References

Can We Prevent Coffee Stains on Teeth? (December 2021). Journal of Medicinal Food.

Effect on tooth discoloration from the coffee drink at various smoke disposal during coffee bean roasting. (2018). Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Volume 1073, Issue 3.

Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report. (April 2015). Nigerian Medical Journal.

Prevention of tea-induced extrinsic tooth stain. (July 2014). International Journal of Dental Hygiene.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

TOP