The Whitmore Dental team often hears questions from our patients about stains caused by coffee, tea, red wine and more. Let’s take a look at the leading beverage culprits and some remedies.
A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar—that’s equivalent to more than nine sugar cubes. Sugar-free diet sodas also damage your teeth, since all soda contains a high level of acid. Acids change the chemical balance in your mouth and damage your tooth enamel. When your mouth is more acidic, harmful bacteria can grow, causing tooth decay and gum disease.
What to do
Kicking the soda habit is best for your teeth. If you have an occasional soda, drink it with a meal, rather than sipping it for hours.
Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea won’t give you cavities and gum disease, but they do affect the appearance of your smile.
Pigments in coffee cause it to stain your teeth, and like the other beverages described here, it’s acidic. Milk in your coffee and tea won’t necessarily protect you from staining, but will give you some additional calcium, benefitting your teeth and bones.
Avoid sweetened coffee drinks, since you’re bathing your teeth in added sugar. As an alternative, try adding a little cinnamon to the steamed milk in your drink.
Black teas—like red wines—contain tannins, naturally-occurring chemical substances found in plants. Research suggests that some tannins may have health benefits, including serving as antioxidants (substances that have been linked with cancer prevention). Tannin does stain teeth.
Green, chamomile and mint tea are less likely to stain your teeth and also lack the acids that are added to fruit-flavored herbal teas, according to research published in the Journal of Dentistry.
Red wine may actually help prevent cavities by fighting cavity-causing bacteria, according to the American Dental Association.
The downside? Both red and white wine stain your teeth, and the acids in wine can be damaging too. Red wine has high levels of chromogens (colored compounds) and white wine makes your teeth more susceptible to staining from other beverages. Sip your wine, rather than swishing it around in your mouth, since that will expose your teeth to less acid and staining.
What to do after drinking wine, coffee and tea
Rinse your mouth with water to wash away the acids present in these beverages. If you’re on the go, order a glass of water along with your coffee.
Allow about an hour for the chemical balance in your mouth to return to normal, and then brush your teeth. Research shows that use of a Sonicare toothbrush is a proven way to remove coffee and tea stains. Regular dental cleanings also benefit the appearance of your smile. Additionally, Whitmore Dental offers options for tooth whitening.
Ready for a check-up and cleaning? Contact Janet or Rachel at Whitmore Dental at 877-779-4486. We are conveniently located at 5932 West Parker Road, Suite 600, Plano, TX 75093.