I’m sure it comes as no surprise that your delicious cup of morning coffee might be ruining your smile. It’s not exactly newsworthy. But now that summer is here, and iced coffee seems the more practical choice, will your teeth benefit from the change of pace? Does it really make a difference if the coffee is hot or cold?
It can but not for the reasons you might be thinking.
The Stain Effect
Coffee, no matter the temperature, bathes your teeth in dark, coffee residue. Enough cups, and you’ll eventually notice your teeth are yellowing. Especially if you sip coffee all day long, you’re exposing your pearly whites to a lot of staining opportunities, according to the dental experts at Atlanta Dentist online. As coffee surrounds the teeth, it gets absorbed into the porous, tooth enamel. The stains on the teeth may appear yellow, brown, or black, either evenly or in a spotted pattern.
Is Iced Coffee Better?
The reason iced coffee can be a better alternative is simple: the straw. When you drink through a straw, the coffee bypasses the teeth and goes straight to your throat. Since the coffee doesn’t swish around in your mouth, it never makes contact with your teeth and thus, can’t leave a stain behind. This same strategy works with teeth-staining colas. So to keep your teeth stain-free, stick to the iced coffee this summer and always use a straw!
Tips to Prevent Staining
But straws don’t work for hot-coffee drinkers. Limit your teeth’s exposure to the coffee by regulating how often you have a cup of java. Instead of spreading out one cup of coffee over an hour or more, try to drink it all at once and cut down on the amount of time the coffee makes contact with your teeth. Also, cut down on the number of cups you’re drinking each day. Chronic coffee drinkers are giving coffee hours and hours to do damage to their teeth – so be choosy about how often you indulge.
To prevent tooth staining when you do partake, Atlanta Dentist recommends you rinse your mouth or brush your teeth right afterward. Removing the chemicals and acid from around the enamel gives them less time to sink into the pores. For damage that’s already present, consult a dentist before beginning any kind of teeth-whitening treatments, since some may not be safe for long-term use.
Atlanta Dentist. “Coffee Smile” http://www.atlantadentist.com/coffee_smile.html
Web MD. “10 Secrets to Whiter Teeth.” http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/slideshow-10-secrets-to-whiter-teeth