Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Coffee Staining: Mechanism, Prevention & Additional Science
While tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it is not smooth. Chemical and mechanical abrasion create microscopic cracks and roughness on the tooth over time. These spots make great hiding spots for staining chemicals found in one of our favourite beverages – coffeeeeee.
Common Causes of Abrasion
Charcoal toothpaste can create microscopic abrasion (other abrasive toothpaste can do this as well)
Brushing your teeth too hard
Drinking acidic drinks
Brushing right after drinking acidic drinks
Polyphenols in Coffee
Coffee contains polyphenols, specifically tannins, which bind to the outer layer of teeth. It is especially hard to remove these tannins on a roughened tooth surface. If you don’t brush away the tannins daily, they coagulate to form an increasingly dark stain. Yes, a lot of dentistry just comes down to brushing your teeth daily. The simple steps are the best steps.
Add milk to coffee: dairy and non-dairy milks contain protein which bind the tannins, preventing them from adhering to the tooth surface
Chooseenergy alternatives like matcha tea. Matcha tea is filled with antioxidants and is proven to be a more stable source of energy, without a caffeine high and crash.
Use a re-usable straw. Re-usable to help the environment and straw to prevent the coffee from ever touching your teeth
Regularly change your toothbrush so that you can clean effectively. Electric toothbrushes are great! They require little pressure and have timers built.
Avoid soda, sugary or acidic food consumption.
Get your teeth professionally whitened.White strips, mouthwashes, internet popularized items do work for some people but only modify the tooth shade mildly. A dentist can help reach a higher degree of whiteness in a safer and controlled space.
Other interesting facts about coffee
Estimates suggest that up to 90% of Americans drink coffee each day and between 50% to 60% are addicted. Yes, coffee is a psychoactive drug that impacts our dopamine pathways (the same pathways other drugs fire up to give us a feel-good rush of neurotransmitters).
Boosts physical performance
Helps burn fat
Helps you stay focused
Some preliminary studies suggest that it prevents Alzheimer’s
Possible anticancer activities (particularly liver and colon)
Moderately decreases chances of developing Parkinson’s disease
Moderate consumption associated with lower risk of stroke
Most commonly consumed psychoactive drugs
Can cause insomnia and restlessness
Can elevate anxiety
Can elevate LDL cholesterol “bad cholesterol”
Addictive with withdrawal symptoms
Not recommended for pregnant women as caffeine can pass into breast milk
Large contributor to plastic waste