How coffee and tea affect your smile

by: Sandy Johnson, RDH, BA

Like me, you probably need at least one cup of coffee to get going in the morning. Or perhaps you prefer tea. Either way, you might want to think about what your daily wake-up beverage does for your teeth – especially if you’re the sort of person who often grabs a few extra cups of caffeinated liquid later on in the day.

The tannic acid in coffee and tea can stain your teeth brown, showing up in the grooves and flat surfaces of your tooth enamel.. However, some studies have shown that adding milk to coffee or tea can prevent the acids from staining your teeth to the extent of straight coffee or tea alone.

If you can’t or don’t want to brush your teeth after drinking coffee or tea, consider drinking a glass of water right after you finish – this will help wash off some of the tannic acid. You can also try drinking through a straw to keep the liquid from coming into direct contact with your tooth surfaces. And don’t forget that tooth whitening is always an option – if you’ve already had too much coffee in your life!

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