Let’s be real here: a great cup of coffee in the morning and a soothing glass of red wine at night makes for a pretty perfect day. Unfortunately, your teeth don’t love these beverages as much as you do. Both drinks can leave permanent stains on your enamel, or on deeper layers of the tooth if you’re not careful. This kind of staining is what will make your teeth look dull and discolored, which is something nobody wants. So, how does this happen, and how can you stop it? Never fear, we’ve got all the details right here.
The enamel on your teeth is a really important substance. It’s extremely hard and helps protect the integrity of the tooth by providing a barrier against acids and bacteria, as well as temperature changes in your mouth. However, it’s not as slick as you might imagine — enamel is actually pitted and porous, and the deep pigments from beverages like coffee and red wine can get stuck in those holes and build up over time, leading to a dingy smile.
Not All Stains Are Created Equal
If you regularly drink coffee and red wine but only consume a glass or so in one sitting, you might get extrinsic staining, or staining on the outside of the teeth. Because of the regular consumption, the pigments may get into your enamel but may not go any farther, because your saliva or (hopefully!) your thorough oral hygiene regimen removes the majority of the material before it can do more extensive damage. Surface staining can be reduced by whitening toothpastes or other over-the-counter whitening methods, as well as with professional whitening treatments at your dentist’s office.
However, what if your coffee and red wine consumption is more excessive? Well, you could end up with intrinsic staining, or staining on the inner layers of your tooth. Both drinks are acidic, and acids can erode and break down tooth enamel over time. Without enamel for protection, the pigments from coffee and wine will adhere to the dentin, the next layer of material that makes up your tooth. This kind of staining is harder to remove and will require professional treatments by your dentist. These stains can become permanent if you don’t otherwise have a good oral care routine and don’t call the dentist when you notice your teeth getting increasingly discolored.
The Best Way Forward
Abstaining from coffee and red wine, or reducing your overall consumption, is the best way to avoid dental stains. However, rinsing your mouth after drinking can prevent pigments from getting into your enamel, as will regular brushing and dental visits. You can also try drinking from a straw, which will prevent the beverages from making contact with your teeth almost entirely.
Do you have a question about dental stains? Feel free to contact us here at DentaLux, and we’ll help get you on your way to brighter smile.