Oral & Vision Health Blog

Coffee Stains Your Teeth? Here's What You Need to Know

Coffee is the fuel of a nation, so you should know how it affects your physical and oral teeth.

Coffee—it is a major part of our lives, and the numbers back it up. Americans are the top coffee consumers in the world. 7 in 10 Americans drink coffee every week and 62 percent drink coffee each day. Coffee shops are the fastest-growing segment of the food service industry, with coffee and snack shops making up $51.3bn of US market size in 2022.

Key Takeaways:

  • Coffee is part of most people’s daily life in America
  • While there are believed benefits from drinking coffee, it does stain your teeth
  • You can clean your mouth and eat water-rich food to minimize the effects of staining
  • Talk to your dentist about teeth whitening treatments and products

While drinking coffee is believed to have benefits such as improve mood, reduced risk of certain diseases and to make you sharper, there can be downsides. Beyond the potential calories of added sugar and insomnia from overindulgence, there are also cosmetic concerns. As more of us seek a gleaming, white smile, the question must be asked: does coffee stain your teeth?

How coffee affects your teeth
Coffee contains tannins, which are organic substances that provide the bitter flavor and dry mouthfeel. They also offer health advantages. However much like tea, wine, chocolate, and berries, they can cause what is called extrinsic discoloration. These are yellowish stains that affect the tooth enamel — the outer surface of the tooth. Your enamel might appear flat and smooth on the surface, but it contains microscopic holes that easily trap food and drink. And these items contain elevated levels of pigment and acid, which are highly likely to stain your teeth.

Ways to manage your coffee habits
You do not have to cut back on the lattes just yet. They are also still better for your teeth than sugary drinks. You can make minor changes to minimize teeth staining, like drinking your iced (or hot) coffee through a straw. Talk about a unique but cool trick! Also adding milk or cream to your coffee is believed to result in less staining as it lightens the color. It is still important to consider the calories that come with milk and creamer. After you are done drinking coffee for the day, be sure to rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth shortly after. On top of that, you can pair your cup with some water and eat water-rich foods like apples, cucumbers, or celery to help clean your teeth.

Other steps to help your teeth
If coffee has already dulled the sheen of your smile, hope is not lost. Talk to your dentist about whitening options. There are in-office treatments, which can provide effective and long-lasting results. These can involve using a custom-fit tray or LED light. You can also ask your dentist about over-the-counter whitening toothpaste and bleach strips, as well as electric and ultrasonic toothbrushes. Your insurance plan might even cover cosmetic whitening. So, get started by making an appointment or doing some research today!


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