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Food & Dental Health Series: Coffee and Tea – Are They Bad for Teeth?

You love your morning cup of Joe or a relaxing glass of tea after a long day. The caffeine gets you going in the morning, and the right tea can relax you at night. Both of these substances do certain things to the body, but have you ever considered what they do to your teeth?

No matter how careful you are about caring for your teeth, coffee and tea will, without fail, leave a mark on your enamel. Fortunately, our LaSalle dental team understands our patients’ needs for caffeine, and we know how to remove the stains that can make teeth look dark and dingy.

The Problem Ingredients in Coffee and Tea

Coffee and many teas are common culprits of causing the white enamel on teeth to stain over time. The problem largely occurs because of the ingredients found in coffee and some teas, although the amount a person consumes is also a major factor.

Each of these types of drinks contains tannins, which are the bitter-tasting organic ingredients that give these substances the acidic tastes they’re known for. Tannins are also contributors to the colors you see in your coffee and teas. The darker the tea, the more tannins it contains. Some black teas can actually cause worse staining than coffee.

How Tannins Cause Teeth to Stain

Just like plaque can stick around on your teeth and turn into tartar, tannins have a habit of building up on enamel. The more coffee and tea you drink—and the darker your chosen beverage of choice—the more apparent the tannins will turn on your teeth, bringing with them their yellowish or brownish hues.

Keeping Your Pearly Whites White

You’re not doomed to have stained teeth forever just because you enjoy a morning cup of Joe (of course, everything is always best in moderation!)

Keep a toothbrush with you and brush your teeth immediately after you finish your daily coffee or tea. Make sure you see your dentist regularly for normal check-ups and cleanings, and if you’re still bothered by the color of your smile, consider having your teeth professionally whitened.

Are you interested in finding a LaSalle dental professional who can help you get rid of those ugly coffee and tea stains? Dre Nathalie Kadoch and her team of hygienists are here to help! Schedule a consultation with our team so we can answer the questions you have about your oral health.