Rochester Dentist: Are You a Coffee Drinker?

coffee stainsHave you ever seen stained teeth? They look dull and yellow, almost sick. They certainly aren’t the esthetic ideal. But what causes them? While the causes vary, one common cause is overexposing teeth to coffee. Luckily, if you’re a coffee drinker, there are a few ways to work against stains. Your Rochester cosmetic dentist, Dr. Gilly Calcagno, discusses how coffee stains teeth and what you can do fight against it.

Why Does Coffee Stain Teeth?

First and foremost, coffee is an acidic beverage. Tooth enamel is vulnerable to acid, and prolonged exposure to it can cause enamel loss. Below the enamel lies a layer of the tooth called dentin, which has a yellowish hue. When enamel wears away, dentin is exposed, giving teeth a yellower and duller appearance.

The dark pigment in coffee also discolors teeth. If a tooth has weakened enamel, it becomes less resistant to dark pigments. Therefore, repetitive exposure to dark pigments increases the likelihood that a tooth with become stained.

Preventing Coffee Stains

It may seem a logical idea that brushing your teeth after finishing a cup of coffee will keep your teeth from yellowing. However, brushing so soon after exposing your teeth to an acidic beverage can do more harm than good. You may cause further damage to enamel and accelerate the yellowing process. Thus, instead of brushing, rinse your mouth with water or a mixture of baking soda (one teaspoon) and water. Swishing water in your mouth will help to wash away some of the lingering acids left from the coffee. The baking soda mixture takes it a step farther and can actually neutralize some of the acids in your mouth.

Another method for combating the yellowing effects of coffee is chewing gum. Gum stimulates saliva production, and saliva, like the baking soda mixture, can neutralize many acids. Gum will also minimize coffee breath. Lastly, limit the amount of coffee you drink. A single cup of coffee won’t likely do much damage, but several cups definitely can.

Visit Your Rochester Dentist

Are you teeth dull and yellow? Discuss teeth whitening options with your Rochester dentist, Dr. Calcagno by calling 507-281-3659. Our 55902 dentist office offers the latest in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. We serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, and surrounding areas.