While drinking coffee and tea in moderation have been found to have many health benefits, one thing is for sure — these beverages leave their mark on your cups, your teeth, and sometimes, even your breath.
Coffee, tea and colas are the second biggest group of offenders of stained teeth, followed closely after tobacco, whether it’s smoked or chewed.
When you do drink these staining beverages, experts suggest that you do so in one or two sittings rather than sipping these drinks throughout the day. This won’t work with coffee, but consider using a straw when drinking iced tea, cola and fruit juices to reduce your teeth’s exposure to these staining beverages, and brush after drinking them.
Stains from food and drink can often be removed with a professional dental cleaning and in-office bleaching, or for milder stains, with home whitening remedies.
Once you’ve had the stains removed, here are a few tips to keep them from occurring in the future.
• Keep your teeth clean with daily brushing. An electric toothbrush may be more effective if you don’t do a thorough job manually. Be careful to brush effectively with a light touch and soft brush, to avoid creating grooves in the teeth at their roots.
• Daily flossing to remove plaque will help you fight stains. The plaque that accumulates between teeth and at the gum line attracts stains like a magnet.
“It’s a team effort between you and your dental health care provider,” said Dr. Steven Sulfaro of Sulfaro Family Dentistry in Holly. “It takes diligent home care with twice a day brushing and flossing, especially after drinking tea or coffee. Then a professional cleaning every six months should take care of any stains.”
Even worse than the stains that accompany coffee consumption is the bad breath that some people get from drinking this beverage. Coffee’s acidic content causes bacteria to grow inside one’s mouth and they begin to produce sulfur compounds — many times these compounds are foul smelling and can create a real problem with bad breath.
Short of giving up your morning coffee, what can you do to sweeten your breath? Experts suggest brushing your teeth twice a day giving special attention to the tongue, which is the single largest breeding ground for bacteria in the mouth.
Switching to tea will likely help your breath, too, especially certain black and green teas. These teas contain polyphenol properties that actually inhibit the growth of bacteria, which can cause tooth decay and bad breath.
Here is how you can use green tea to fight halitosis, according to oraltechlabs.com:
• Before and after brushing your teeth, rinse your mouth out with green tea.
• Drink plenty of green tea.
• Use green tea like a mouthwash. Swish it around and then spit it out.
• Mix it in with your toothpaste before brushing your teeth.
Getting coffee or tea stains out of your coffee mug is an easy problem to solve. Just sprinkle a tiny bit of baking soda in the mug with a little water, and wipe it around with your finger or sponge. Once you have it clean, make sure you wash it regularly as soon as you’re done drinking to keep those stubborn stains from showing up again.