Why does coffee stain teeth?istock/Milenko Bokan
Enamel, the hard outer coating that protects the other layers of your teeth, is covered in microscopic gaps. When food and drink particles get stuck in those gaps, it forms an extrinsic stain, which just means the outer layer of your tooth is discolored. But the longer the particles stay in the gaps, they start to affect other layers of the tooth. “The more you drink [coffee] and don’t do anything to remove it, the stain goes deeper and deeper,” says Denise Estafan, DDS, an associate professor at the New York University College of Dentistry. This is called an intrinsic stain, and it’s a lot harder to clean. Here are ways you didn’t even realize you’re staining your teeth.
Brushing: Your first plan of attackistock/AndreyPopov
The primary cause of a tooth stain is plaque accumulation, so brushing your teeth with whitening toothpaste and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings are the best ways to prevent ugly coffee stains. But trying these additional tricks can keep your teeth sparkling in between dentist visits. The best part? You don’t need to give up your morning pick-me-up. By the way: Are you making these tooth-brushing mistakes?
Don’t forget to floss. Seriously.iStock/gpointstudio
Let’s be honest: It’s hard to floss as regularly as dentists want you to. But setting aside a few minutes each day—morning or night—can make a big impact on your oral health. It gets rid of plaque generally, and plaque attracts stains. Brushing alone doesn’t remove all the bacteria in your mouth. Whatever’s left over could harden and turn into tartar, which can cause infections.