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How Can You Keep Your Teeth Free from Coffee Stains? 10 Tips to Try at Home

July 31, 2009 by Bethany Ramos


Before we dive right in to talk about how to get your pearly whites sparkling again, we must tackle an even bigger question: Which stains are more difficult to remove, coffee or tobacco?

Coffee versus Tobacco Stains on Your Teeth: Which Are Worse?

The reason that we bring up such a touchy topic as teeth stains is because you’re likely to encounter some type of harsh substance that affects your beautiful smile at one time or another. Maybe you used to be or are still a smoker. Or, even more likely, you’re a diehard coffee lover that doesn’t see any reason to give up your habit – dingy teeth, be damned!

And why should you? Coffee has long been proven to be a healthy drink with countless benefits. There’s no reason to break your habit, but it doesn’t change the fact that coffee stains are a nasty fact of life for most coffee lovers.

In a May 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association article, a clinical study revealed that coffee and cigarettes have the same effect on teeth. Within the study, the stain removal ability of simulated tooth brushing and teeth bleaching were assessed to target both coffee and cigarette stains.

Statistics showed that participants with cigarette stains fared better than those with coffee stains from tooth brushing alone. Yet teeth whitening showed favorable results for both coffee and cigarette stains to result in a noticeable color change in the teeth.

Teeth re-staining potential is greater after removing coffee stains versus nicotine stains. – tweet this

The findings of the study bring us to an interesting paradox. Cigarettes are notably much worse for your health than a drink like coffee with dozens of health studies to back it up. But when it comes to your teeth, cigarette stains are easier to remove and keep off than coffee stains on your pearly whites.

Yet there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are some simple home remedies that you can try to keep your teeth free from excessive stains as a coffee lover. We’re going to explore just that in this article to help you find the best way to keep your smile picture-perfect, even after your morning cup of Joe.

Which Coffee Teeth Stain Removal Remedies Really Work?

While coffee is a major contributor to stained teeth, it’s not the only beverage you have to watch out for. Other foods and drinks are likely to stain your teeth, including:

  • Wine
  • Tea
  • Sports drinks
  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Tomato sauce
  • Grape/cranberry juice
  • Blueberries
  • Dark sodas
  • Tobacco
  • Chocolate
  • Beets
  • Sweets

If a drink can stain a tablecloth, it can stain your teeth. – tweet this

So what’s it going to take to have whiter teeth without coffee stains? Consider these proven remedies to naturally brighten your teeth before you splurge on professional teeth whitening:

  1. Drink cold coffee through a straw. Yes, that’s right! If you’re drinking your coffee through a straw, then it will have less time to be in contact with your teeth. Also, hot coffee is more likely to stain than cold coffee, which is why an iced latte may be in order.
  2. Eat an apple. An apple a day may keep the dentist away. Chewing a crunchy apple can help to remove stain residue from your teeth; apples contain malic acid, a chemical found in teeth whitening products to dissolve stains as an added bonus.
  3. Eat strawberries. Strawberries are delicious fruits that are known as natural teeth whiteners since they contain vitamin C and astringent. Astringent will effectively break down surface stains, while vitamin C removes plaque and whitens teeth. Win-win!
  4. Eat cheddar cheese. Would you be surprised to find that cheddar cheese can counteract the acidity in coffee to naturally clean your teeth and restore the pH balance in your mouth? While you can’t use cheese as a substitute for a toothbrush (if only!), it can help to keep stains at bay during the workday.
  5. Chew sugarless gum after drinking coffee. Sugarless gum is known to stimulate saliva, which can help to wash your teeth clean after a cup of coffee if you don’t have a toothbrush on hand.
  6. Drink water with coffee. Sipping and swishing water in your mouth after every drink of coffee can decrease the likelihood of residual stains.
  7. Wait 30 minutes after brushing in the morning. If you’re used to brushing your teeth and grabbing a cup of coffee to perk up in the morning, it may be time to pump the brakes. Waiting 30 minutes after you brush your teeth in the morning can allow soft enamel to harden so that it is less vulnerable to staining.
  8. Brush three times a day. Keeping a toothbrush in your purse or desk is one great way to promote dental hygiene. Make it a practice to brush after every meal and whenever you consume coffee, a minimum of three times a day.
  9. Floss like a maniac. Flossing every time you brush your teeth and regularly throughout the day will prevent staining substances from building up between your teeth. According to a 2008 survey, only 49% of Americans floss every day; 10% of us don’t floss at all. For shame!
  10. Brush with baking soda. After putting toothpaste onto your toothbrush, dip it in baking soda before brushing. Use this method to brush gently twice per week to prevent weakening of your tooth enamel.

While it may be tempting to forgo all of these natural remedies and slather whitening toothpaste on your chompers, experts recommend that you proceed with caution. Specialized toothpastes designed to remove deep coffee and tobacco stains may be more abrasive than you realize. Most dentists advise limiting whitening toothpastes to a minimum of 2 to 3 times per week to protect tooth enamel.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Home Remedies for Stained Teeth February 26, 2010 at 8:02 am

Baking soda is a good natural home remedy for clean teeth. Avoid Spicy foods and tobacco products


Chuggin McCoffee February 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Thanks for that tip! Baking soda is very helpful, and it’s always important to avoid smoking for beautiful teeth 🙂


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