For many of us, that first cup of tea of coffee plays an almost sacred role in our morning rituals. While that morning pick-me-up may provide us a variety of health benefits, your favorite morning beverage comes with a potential price: stains on your tooth enamel. This could make it necessary to visit your SW Portland cosmetic dentist for whitening treatments.
Just imagining what happens if you leave a mug sitting overnight with coffee or tea in it can provide an accurate idea of what drinking these types of beverage can do to the complexion of our smiles.
Of course, not everyone has the same susceptibility to enamel staining as others. Some of us are just more genetically predisposed to staining, which is why your coffee-chugging cubicle neighbor may enjoy pearly white teeth, while you, an occasional tea sipper, may be noticing stains.
By now most of us understand that the primary culprits behind teeth staining are soda, tobacco, red wine, tea and coffee. However, what might not be as well-known are the other types of foods that can cause enamel staining. Tomatoes and berries are guilty of teeth staining, as are over-the-counter oral rinses that contain stannous fluoride or cetylpyridinium. These types of ingredients are found in most common mouthwashes.
Individuals suffering from asthma that use acidic inhalants may also find that it dissolves their tooth enamel, making them more susceptible to tooth staining.
So what should you do if you want to keep your smile shining brightly but can’t imagine giving up your morning coffee? Here are a few helpful tips:
- Use a straw. Drinking teeth-staining beverages through a straw could prevent them from contacting your teeth.
- Add milk or cream. Avid tea and coffee drinkers should consider adding milk or cream to their beverage to help lessen the effects of stains.
- Brush or rinse immediately after drinking. Just like rinsing out that coffee cup that sat out overnight, brushing or rinsing your mouth immediately after drinking your tea or coffee will help negate these beverage’s staining effects. Even if you don’t have time to brush, rinsing will help to remove staining agents from the surface of your teeth before any lasting damage can be done.
- Brush and floss regularly. The key to enjoying better oral health is also the key to preventing tooth staining. Brushing and flossing regularly with fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth, making them harder to stain.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps to increase saliva flow in the mouth. The more hydrated your mouth becomes, the more harmful substances – like those that stain enamel – get flushed away. Chewing gum also helps to scrub the surface of your teeth, which removes staining agents as well.
- Brush with whitening toothpastes. Whitening toothpastes contain abrasive agents that scrub away stains from the surface of tooth enamel. However, since these brands are more abrasive than others, make sure to check with your SW Portland cosmetic dentist to see if your mouth is healthy enough for whitening.
- Regular dental cleaning. Visiting our Tigard dental office for regular dental cleanings will provide our team of hygienists with the opportunity to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth, keeping them healthier and brighter looking now and into the future.