We are enjoying our retirement here at Pheo Coffee, drinking excellent pour over coffee while trying to stay safe during this crazy. Here is a topic we have been thinking about for a long time: how can you drink a lot of coffee while keeping your teeth clean and white.
I asked Dr. Peter, a pediatric dentist and the owner of VK Pediatric Dentistry in Arlington, VA to offer some advice on how coffee can affect your oral health. Dr. Peter specializes in kids dentistry and oral health and is an avid coffee drinking. He regularly drinks espresso and offers some tips on keeping your teeth white while enjoying cups of joe.
Common Reasons for Tooth Discoloration
Our teeth can become discolored for many reasons. Genetics, illness, injury, and age can all cause discoloration and are often out of our control. Intrinsic and extrinsic staining can also occur leading to tooth yellowing. Intrinsic staining is caused by medication, radiation, and even possibly dental treatment. Extrinsic staining, which has an association with coffee drinking, causes discoloration and yellowing on the surface of the tooth itself. These stains are caused by dietary and lifestyle choices (tobacco, iron supplementation, acidic beverages, and yes, coffee).
Why does it happen?
Although brushing, flossing, and 6-month visits to your dentist can help prevent discoloration, it can still happen even in the most oral hygiene responsible of coffee drinkers. The reason for this staining is because teeth aren’t entirely solid – they are composed of thousands of microtubules and tiny spaces exist in the surface. Compounds can stick to the enamel and stain the surface, eventually penetrating deeper.
How to Keep Your Teeth Pearly White
1. Regular Dental Visits
Although it sounds trite, regularly visiting your dentist (every 6 months) can help thoroughly clean and polish your teeth to keep the discoloration at bay and keep your teeth as strong and beautiful as possible. Dentists have specialized tools that allow them to remove even the stubborn stains (and stains you may not see on the back side of teeth).
2. Get Yourself an Electric Toothbrush
Although a manual toothbrush gets the job done, electric toothbrushes get the job done better. Electric toothbrushes oscillate, vibrate, and generally clean much more effectively than a manual brush. Multiple studies have shown the electric toothbrush has better benefits and is more effective at stain removal. You don’t need to get a top of the line brush to experience a difference, though we recommend using one with oscillation to help tackle even the most stubborn of stains. For some recommendations, check out Dr. Peter’s posts on toothbrushes and toothpaste.
3. Whitening Products
Whitening toothpaste is specifically formulated to remove surface stains on the outer part of the tooth, the enamel. Some contain hydrogen peroxide which actually whitens teeth, some contain a mild abrasive to help scrub those stubborn stains. Whitening strips can be extremely effective and deliver quick results for yellowing teeth. There is a wide range of whitening strips/kits. We’d recommend starting with a lower strength and doing multiple applications to try to reduce sensitivity. Although the sensitivity is usually temporary, it can be quite painful.