Three out of every four Australians have at least one cup of coffee a day, but the habit may lead to people wondering: how do you get coffee stains off your teeth? While it’s true that a morning brew will wake you up, it can have a dimming effect on your smile.

Regular coffee drinkers may notice their pearly whites taking on a yellow tone, and that can impact your confidence. Thankfully, with a bit of effort, coffee stains on teeth do go away, and for those dedicated to their smile, some changes to your coffee drinking habits could help prevent stains from even forming.

Why Does Coffee Stain My Teeth?

While the enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, it does have tiny pores. When you drink coffee, the tannins in the brew seep into those pores, leaving deep stains behind. As coffee is acidic, it can also wear the enamel away over time, leading to more stains. Other beverages that contain tooth-staining tannins include black tea and red wine.

It’s not all bad news, though. Coffee is less acidic than some other drinks, including soft drinks and some fruit juices, so it’s not the worst choice for a morning wake-me-up. It’s also full of antioxidants which have plenty of health benefits, including fighting gum disease and keeping teeth strong.

How Do I Prevent Coffee Stains?

Change What You Drink

Giving up coffee entirely is one way to prevent coffee stains, but it isn’t necessary. Some simple changes can help keep stains away.

A study in The International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that the casein in milk attaches to tannins and helps prevent tea from staining. As the same compound causes stains from coffee, adding milk can likely help protect teeth from all caffeinated beverages. This means switching from a short black to a flat white can have a big impact on the appearance of your teeth. It does have to be animal milk, as non-dairy alternatives don’t contain casein.

As the amount of caffeine in a drink directly relates to the volume of tannins, it’s also possible that choosing decaf or a less-caffeinated option could lead to fewer stains. A strong coffee, such as Turkish brew, can likely cause more stains than a cold brew.

Change How You Drink

The more time coffee is on your teeth, the greater the chance it can stain. One way to avoid this is to drink your coffee with a straw, though that might be a better idea in summer when iced coffee is a popular choice.

Another option is to drink faster. If you nurse a coffee for two hours, that’s two hours of the liquid bathing your teeth. Finishing the cup quickly gives it less time to cause staining. The same goes for limiting your coffee to specific hours, rather than consuming several cups during the day.

Lastly, clean your teeth after you finish your drink. Obviously brushing your teeth is the best option, but this may not be practical if you’re at work or your favourite café. If there’s no toothbrush handy, try swishing water around your mouth to wash away any coffee residue.

How Do I Get Rid of Existing Stains on my Teeth?

Good Oral Hygiene

Plaque accumulation is one of the leading causes of tooth staining, so brushing regularly is the first step to fighting stains. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily to help get rid of the plaque. Whitening toothpaste can also help keep stains at bay.

Regular Dentist Visits

Most people have difficulty removing all the plaque and tartar from their teeth, so regular visits to the dentist are essential. A professional cleaning uses abrasion and polishing to remove surface stains, leaving your smile whiter and brighter.

Professional Whitening

While a regular cleaning gets rid of surface stains, you may be wondering, How do I get rid of deep stains on my teeth? For severe discolouration, a professional whitening treatment may be the answer. Professional whitening is more effective than an over-the-counter kit and generally leads to quicker results.

Professional whitening involves a dentist using a bleach solution, usually hydrogen peroxide, and a light or laser to activate the peroxide. The solution is left on for up to an hour, depending on the brand, then rinsed. Some people may need multiple treatments if they have very deep stains. Professional whitening is excellent for getting tea and coffee stains off your teeth and can also help prevent new stains from forming. It’s a great option for people concerned about the colour of their smile.Although coffee can leave stains on your teeth, there’s no need to give it up completely. A few simple steps can help prevent stains, and if you’re still concerned, meeting with a dental professional is the first step to finding a solution. Smile Team Orthodontics is ready to help fix your smile, just book an assessment today to get started.