Why Does Coffee Stain Teeth?

If you have been looking for ways to keep your teeth as white as possible, then you may have learned that it is wise to cut back on your coffee consumption. Coffee is one beverage that can leave relatively dark stains on teeth. If you are confused about why and how coffee can be so troublesome, then keep reading.

Coffee Contains Tannins

When coffee beans are harvested, they are naturally a green color. The light colored beans are then roasted. Roasting dries out the beans and also causes a reaction in the beans themselves. This is called the Maillard reaction where tannins form and produce the dark tone. Tannins are the bits of bitter and natural pigments that give coffee its various health benefits. Unfortunately, the tannins can easily stain the teeth, your coffee cups, and anything else that they come into contact with. 

When the tannins come into contact with the teeth, they slip into the small cracks, pits, and crevices that form in the dental enamel. The pigments then remain in the teeth until they are forced away with the help of oxidizing tooth whitening gels or pastes. While abrasive toothpastes can help to remove some of the surface stains, if you drink a great deal of coffee, then stains are likely deeply ingrained. Even some of these deeper intrinsic stains may remain after a professional whitening is completed. This is why it is wise to cut back on your coffee consumption instead of opting for a dental whitening once every six months or so.

Coffee Is Acidic

Another reason why coffee can stain teeth is the fact that the beverage is acidic. When an acidic substance comes into contact with the tooth enamel, it softens the enamel for a period of time. The softened enamel is far more likely to be penetrated by stains. Since the coffee already contains deep and dark pigments, the coloring agents can freely penetrate the teeth as the acid does the softening.

If you decide to remove some of the dental stains from the teeth by brushing immediately after you drink coffee, then this is a mistake. You may weaken or damage the dental enamel, since it is already soft. You should instead rinse the mouth with water. Rinsing gently lifts the tannins from the teeth without disrupting the enamel in any way. 

While rinsing is ideal, you may also want to try keeping the coffee away from the teeth as much as possible. Sipping through a straw can help with this. 

For more tips and information on keeping your teeth as white as possible, talk with a local dentist about professional teeth whitening, or visit websites like http://suncoastdental.com.