Most of us enjoy one of life’s simplest pleasures: sipping a hot cup of coffee or tea, yet both of these delicious treats can so cruelly stain our teeth. The desire for sparkling whites can almost make you consider giving up these practically essential parts of our daily routines, but the good news is that you can prevent stains by making a few changes.
Perfect your Sip
You’ve probably never paid too much attention, but the way you’re sipping your coffee, tea, or red wine can really impact the amount of staining that can result, especially over time. Next time you put a cup or glass up to your lips, pay attention to how much of the liquid is hitting your front teeth as you take a sip. Try making some subtle adjustments if you notice that you’re exposing your teeth to a lot of the liquid. This doesn’t mean you have to take shots of coffee or tea every morning, but it’s worth experimenting while you’re enjoying your drink. On the plus side, you can get yourself an extra cup or glass for “experimentation purposes” until you perfect your new sipping technique.
Try using a Straw
If you’re already trying new sipping techniques, you may as well use a straw! This works well if you’re particularly fond of iced coffee and tea drinks as they are generally already served with straws. Don’t be afraid to try straws with hot drinks too, however. It may seem silly at first, but you will get the hang of it. Drinking liquids with a straw can significantly reduce the exposure to your teeth, preventing that staining we all want to avoid. If you’re concerned about the environment and using too many plastic straws, there are great stainless steel reusable straws come with reusable coffee or tea thermoses.
Brush your Teeth
Some people have their morning routines down to a science to the point where they can do while half asleep, but think about brushing your teeth again 30 minutes to an hour after having your morning drink. Don’t brush right after, because there’s a risk of harming your tooth enamel. If you drink coffee later in the day, keep a traveling sized toothbrush and toothpaste with you so you can freshen up. This is especially important for people who like to enjoy more than one cup or glass a day. Those stains can add up quick! Just be sure you’re not over brushing.
Rinse your Mouth
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to forget. Coffee, tea, and wine stain the outer most enamel part of our teeth, so preventing stains can be as easy as swishing water around for a couple of minutes after having a drink. This is best for when you don’t have the time or resources to brush your teeth, and it can be done in a flash, even using a public drinking fountain. A bonus is that it’s also a great way to avoid dreaded coffee breath.
Of course, make sure the gum you’re chewing is sugar-free! Not only does chomping on a stick of gum help produce saliva that swishes around your mouth and helps rinse over your teeth, but the actual gum itself can sometimes help remove particles from in between your teeth. Now, rinsing, brushing, and flossing should definitely be the first line of coffee and tea aftercare, but when you’re in a pinch, gum should do the trick.
We know everyone likes to think they floss enough, but really, if you want to avoid those pesky coffee and tea stains, you really need to do it daily! The buildup that gathers between teeth loves to absorb stains and can make your teeth look duller than you think. Removing the gunk can greatly help to keep your smile shining brightly. Keep some floss at your desk or in your bag. Invest in a pack of dental flossers if you enjoy convenience!
Get a Bi-Annual Cleaning
Visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning is one of the best ways to get rid of superficial stains on your teeth caused by coffee, tea, and red wine. They use special tools to remove plaque and polish your teeth to make them healthy and shiny. Since these stains are affecting the outside of your tooth and not the inner core, a cleaning should have you feeling and looking like new.
Ask about Whitening
While you’re at your cleaning, go ahead and ask your dentist about whitening products. Whitening toothpastes are not all the same, so be sure to double check if they would recommend you use one. Many over the counter whitening products can be overly abrasive and actually damage your teeth, so have that chat with your dentist before you make any purchases. They may also recommend in-office whitening treatments that can take your current shade of white to the next level.
Use a good Toothbrush
Do yourself a favor and invest in a high-end toothbrush. You don’t have to drop a ton of money to get one that’s truly going to change the way you feel about brushing your teeth. Ask your dentist what they recommend, and sometimes they can even give you coupons or a great deal on a brand they suggest. Not only will a quality toothbrush help keep your mouth healthy, but it can also help brush away those annoying stains that build up.
If you’re seriously worried about stained teeth, and you’re willing to forgo your favorite cup of tea of joe, then you can look to alternative drinks that can replace them. Make sure you aren’t replacing these natural drinks with something that has a lot of sugar or artificial coloring, which could do more damage to your teeth than superficial