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With estimates showing that about 64% of American adults consume coffee every day, it’s no surprise that coffee is the leading cause of tooth stains.

Coffee — much like tea, blueberries, and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables — contains polyphenols. Tannins, which are polyphenols, cause the pigments in coffee to stick to the surfaces of teeth.

Aside from a high content of polyphenols, coffee is also acidic, so it can damage tooth enamel. Many people drink coffee with sugar, which further damages teeth. Sugar and starch are the favorite fuels of the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.

If you love coffee but don’t love what it does to your teeth, read on. Our experts at Grace Dental Group in San Francisco can help you prevent and treat tooth stains caused by coffee consumption.

Reduce your risk for coffee stains

There are several ways you can reduce your risk for coffee stains without quitting coffee, including the following:

  • Adding milk or heavy cream to your coffee to bind the polyphenols and inactivate them
  • Drinking water after drinking coffee to wash away some of the pigments that bind to the enamel
  • Investing in an electric toothbrush for a more thorough cleaning

Although soy, oats, rice, and almond milk may make your coffee taste delicious, they don’t contain the same type of proteins that are able to bind with polyphenols and inactivate them.

Invest in tooth-whitening treatments

Tooth-whitening treatments can reduce or completely erase the coffee stains on your teeth. Because teeth are porous, dental specialists can use special bleaching agents that penetrate your teeth and dissolve any stains. A device using light may enhance the penetration of the whitening solution in your teeth.

Whitening solutions may make your teeth and gums sensitive for short periods of time, but the results they provide are long-lasting. Most people are able to maintain their pearly white smiles for 6 to 12 months after the first treatment.

Find out if you’re a good candidate for tooth whitening

People who have crowns, fillings, dental implants, gum disease, and exposed roots may not be good candidates for tooth-whitening treatments.

However, if your teeth and gums are in good health and have yellow stains, bleaching agents may help. If your teeth are stained with shades of gray or purple, our specialists may recommend a different dental treatment.

If you’ve always dreamed of a white smile, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our staff can help you eliminate dental stains while you continue to enjoy your favorite hot beverage.

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