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Coffee and Tea:  How do They Affect your Teeth?

While your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, it is not flat and smooth like it looks. Instead, it contains tiny ridges and pits that hold particles of both your food and drink. Coffee and tea are darker beverages and their pigments can easily become embedded in those pits and ridges. This causes yellow stains on your teeth that can be permanent.  

What Stains More?

Despite most coffees being considerably darker in color than teas, tea contains a substance called tannin. You can find tannin in all sorts of food and drink, including wine. Tannin is actually a vegetable dye that occurs naturally in the body, and it is an antioxidant called Tannic acid. So in addition to the darker pigments found in these beverages, tea has the additional Tannic acid. Tannic acid adheres to plaque on your teeth, and it causes yellowing of your teeth right along with the pigment of the tea itself.

To decrease possible staining, try substituting green tea for black tea. In addition to less color pigments that can stain your teeth, it also contains fluoride, which naturally strengthens your teeth. It also gets rid of bad breath due to bacteria or viruses in your mouth.

Do I have to Give Up Coffee and Tea to Ensure a Whiter Smile?

There are steps you can take to prevent further yellowing of your teeth while still enjoying your favorite beverage:

  • Brew your coffee lighter in color and use some milk or cream in it.
  • Enjoy green or white tea instead of black.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after drinking a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Brush your teeth with a whitening toothpaste immediately after drinking coffee or tea.
  • Twice a week, brush with baking soda and salt and rinse with hydrogen peroxide to remove surface stains.
  • Floss daily to remove more plaque by the edge of your teeth.

If, after following these directives, you still have stains on your teeth that have been set in over time, see your dentist for a professional whitening treatment.

Also, make sure you're scheduling regular teeth cleanings, which will help in reducing the amount of buildup over time.

Follow the directives above, and enjoy your favorite beverages with a dazzling, white smile.