Over 83% of Americans agree — coffee is life. How else are we supposed to juggle the demands of working, running errands, and somehow still having a social life?
A lot of people gulp down at least one cup of coffee a day, whether it’s for general enjoyment or for the caffeine boost. (Though to be honest, the caffeine is probably a big reason why so many Americans drink coffee.)
The only problem is that a morning cup of joe is the arch-nemesis of a white smile.
No one wants stains on their teeth, especially when phone cameras have gotten good enough to reveal our every punishing flaw on Instagram. But drinking lots of coffee (and tea — sorry, tea drinkers) is proven to stain your teeth.
Besides the cosmetic bonuses of a blindingly bright smile, if you like your smile, you naturally smile more. People who are insecure about their smiles can appear closed off and shy. But really, they just don’t want to show their teeth.
Confident people, though, tend to tackle life with more energy. They do better at work, thrive in social situations, and are happier with themselves. Believe it or not, the first step in achieving that is loving your smile.
Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to cut coffee out of your routine just to be happy with your smile. There are ways to have both your coffee and the smile of your dreams.
Read on to find out how even the most obsessive coffee drinkers can still have a gorgeous white smile.
Wait, Why Does Coffee Stain My Teeth?
It all comes down to chemistry.
Coffee contains a lot of polyphenols. This is the same micronutrient that you can find in red wine and dark chocolate.
Polyphenols are actually pretty good for you. They contain a lot of antioxidants. They can help with things like weight loss, cardiovascular issues, and digestion. The ones in coffee have also been proven to help lower your cholesterol.
Sounds great, right?
Well, yes, in some ways. However, in coffee those polyphenols are combined with certain amounts of tannin. That combination is what’s staining your pearly whites.
The enamel on your teeth is porous, and those micronutrients will get trapped in there if they’re not washed away quickly. Tannin, unfortunately, helps stains stick to your teeth. Over time, this is what causes the slow yellowing of your teeth. Once they’re there, they’re pretty hard to get rid of.
Your best bet is to stop them before they start. Prevention is key when it comes to maintaining that pearly white smile.
How To Combat Coffee Stains For A White Smile
So how exactly do you prevent stains from forming on your teeth? There are a variety of ways to choose from. Pick the ones that work best for you and your coffee addict routine.
Drink Through A Straw
This obviously only works for iced coffee drinkers. If hot coffee is more your style, you might want to skip this tip before you burn your mouth.
One way to avoid coffee stains on your teeth is to stop the coffee from touching your teeth in the first place. For iced coffee or cold brew drinkers, an easy fix is to drink through a straw that you’ve put behind your teeth.
Your back molars still might get a little bit stained. However, you’ll keep a white smile where it counts.
Be warned, though, that there are some people who caution against relying completely on this method. If you’re sucking on a straw 24/7, you could develop the same wrinkles around your mouth that frequent smokers have.
Invest in a reusable tumbler that comes with a lid and straw and you’ll be good to go. Plus, you’ll avoid generating a ton of extra trash.
Drink Water While You Drink Coffee
We all know on some level that we need to be drinking a good amount of water each day. Drinking water clears the skin, flushes toxins, helps us lose weight, is literally life-giving…the list goes on.
However, everyone gets a little lazy sometimes.
It’s easy to skip chugging water in the morning in favor of taking a cup of coffee on the go. No matter what people say about water giving you more energy, there’s nothing like caffeine to wake you up in the morning.
There’s a way to avoid those ugly coffee stains, keep drinking your coffee, and be super hydrated. In between every few sips of coffee, have a sip of water.
Drinking water while you drink coffee will help to flush away any stain-causing particles that would have hung around and gotten stuck to your teeth. If you’re a sucker for sweet coffee with a lot of cream and sugar — more on that later — it’ll also dissolve extra sugar.
This way, it won’t build up and create plaque.
Plus, it reduces the likelihood of having gross coffee breath all day.
Stay hydrated and maintain a beautiful white smile. Win-win.
Drink Your Coffee Quickly
Now, this doesn’t mean you should down a Venti Starbucks latte in one go. No one is advocating for chugging your coffee.
But if you’re taking hours to finish one cup of coffee? If you’re slowly drinking it while you make your way through emails or scroll through your social media? Well then, you’re probably hurting the long term appearance of your teeth.
Taking a long time to drink your coffee translates to more time that the coffee can stain your teeth. Instead of letting the chemicals in coffee be eventually washed away by your saliva, you’d be constantly reintroducing the chemicals to your teeth.
All of that just adds up to increased stains on your teeth. It makes that perfect white smile even more unattainable.
Instead, try to finish your cup in around an hour or so, and don’t drink coffee throughout the day.
Aim to only have coffee once a day. Drink it either in the morning or in the afternoon, not both. That’ll also be better for you in the long run, so keep that in mind when you’re tired and itching for that 2:00 PM cup.
You can also take up espresso if you really need that caffeine all day. It won’t sit on your teeth forever, and you’ll still get the caffeine rush you need.
Brush And Floss Regularly
Don’t forget your regular brushing routine! Even regular oral healthcare will go a long way towards keeping your white smile.
You should be doing this already, but make sure that you’re brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Thoroughly is the key word here. Taking thirty seconds before you rush out the door isn’t going to cut it.
If you can, try to brush your teeth immediately after drinking coffee. Water is great, but brushing is a way more effective way to remove those tannins before they can set in and start staining your teeth.
Brushing on its own isn’t enough, though. You should also be flossing as regularly as you brush.
This is the part of most people’s oral hygiene routines that gets cut most often. How many people really want to stand in front of a mirror and floss?
Flossing gets rid of plaque and the bacteria you didn’t catch when you brushed. Don’t skip it. Seriously.
Cream & Sugar Only Make Stains Worse
This is probably going to be hard news to hear if you’ve been thinking the opposite all this time.
It makes sense to think that adding cream and sugar lessens the coffee stains. After all, you’re making the coffee lighter, so it shouldn’t stain your teeth as badly…right?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. It’s the tannins in coffee that are staining your teeth. Adding cream and sugar doesn’t reduce the number of tannins, either.
In fact, they can actually make the stains worse. The added sugar in your coffee can create more plaque in your mouth, which the tannins will then latch onto. It’s a recipe for more stains, not fewer.
Never fear, though. You don’t have to go right to taking your coffee black if that’s not how you roll. (If you do drink black coffee, though, the promise of a white smile is one more reason to keep it up.)
Instead of artificial creamer, try adding milk to your coffee instead. Whole milk or two percent will work best. The main protein in milk, casein, will bond with the tannins and stop them from staining your teeth as badly.
Skim milk or soy milk won’t work, since it’s the protein that’s doing all of the heavy lifting here.
In addition to your regular brushing and flossing routine, consider adding mouthwash to your daily schedule.
You’ve probably already heard that mouthwash is key in preventing things like gingivitis. It’s the third fail-safe step in making sure that you’ve got the healthiest mouth possible.
Bonus — since using mouthwash helps to prevent the buildup of plaque, using it frequently can also help prevent new coffee stains from forming. Plus, mouthwash can reach places that your brush can’t.
It’ll each your gums and in-between your teeth, plus the part that people actually see when you flash that white smile.
Using mouthwash will help to reinforce all of the work you did to get the perfect white smile in the first place — and you want to keep it in place, right?
There’s still one more basic oral hygiene practice you should keep in mind when you’re trying to whiten your teeth, and it’s kind of a no-brainer…
Visit Your Dentist
Yep. It should go without saying, but there’s really no better authority on getting the perfect white smile than your dentist.
Regular dentist checkups should be on your schedule. Try to be sure that you’re getting in that dentist’s chair every six months or so, even if you’re one of those people who’s terrified of the dentist.
Not only can you get your teeth professionally cleaned, they can also make sure that any new possible products or routines you want to try are on the level.
After all, you should always be trying to keep up with your health outside of the dentist’s office. If you want an honest opinion on what does get a white smile and what doesn’t, that’s the person to ask.
Chew Sugarless Gum
In between dentist’s visits, when you absolutely need to have that coffee fix, try chewing sugarless gum after you finish your morning mug of caffeine.
Most people have heard all the scary stories about how chewing gum is actually bad for your teeth. So, people don’t usually think about chewing gum as a way to keep their teeth clean.
Seems counterintuitive, right?
Thankfully, you’re wrong.
Chewing gum increases the amount of saliva in your mouth. This then washes away unnecessary acids and plaque from your teeth. It basically just helps your body do its job faster than it normally would.
Chew sugarless gum for about 20 minutes after drinking coffee to help protect that white smile.
Invest In Whitening Products
Let’s say that you’re incorporating literally all of the advice above, but it’s too little, too late. You’ve already got some yellow stains on your teeth and you wanted them gone, like, yesterday.
Everything mentioned above is meant to prevent stains from forming in the first place. However, to remove stains that have already formed, your best bet is to invest in teeth whitening.
Most people shy away from this because they associate it with being really expensive. The cheap whitening products that you can get in drug stores don’t always work, but going to the dentist to whiten teeth can put a serious dent in your checking account.
You need a happy medium — something that’s actually quality, but not super cost-prohibitive.
Smile Supply Company created the Innovative Teeth Whitening Kit, which you can use just five minutes a day to see great results. It’s fast, pain-free, and affordable, so basically everything you need in a whitening solution.
Who needs to go broke when you can get the white smile you want while watching Netflix?
Check out the shop today to see what whitening products are currently available.