The National Coffee Association estimates that more than 62 percent of U.S. adults start their day with coffee. While millions love it, it’s not always the best for their teeth or breath. In response, many people turn to whitening treatments that include harsh, aggressive chemicals, powders, and detergents that can strip enamel, leaving teeth feeling sensitive and looking even worse in the long run. In time for National Coffee Day, September 29, Kent B. Lawson, D.D.S. shares his tips to fight teeth stains naturally and what ingredients to look for in products that promote a sparkling smile and fresh breath without having to give up that morning cup of joe.
- Brush teeth at least 30 minutes after drinking coffee. Drinks that are high in acid like coffee, wine, lemonade, or soda can soften enamel so don’t brush immediately after drinking as it can cause further damage to teeth. Wait 30 minutes after drinking coffee before brushing as it allows time for the enamel to harden and saliva to neutralize the pH in your mouth.
- Brush your teeth three times a day for two minutes. To effectively remove food particles, plaque, and tartar, brush three times a day for two minutes, along with regular flossing, to help remove stains and bacteria build up. Try dentist-formulated TheraBreath Whitening + Fresh Breath Charcoal Toothpaste, the only charcoal toothpaste with patented Oxyd-8® breath freshening technology and powerful oxygenating compounds that enhance the whitening power of the activated charcoal by dissolving the thin pellicle layer to which stains adhere.
- Don’t use sugary toothpastes. Look for xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from plants, which is proven to prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth, helps reduce plaque buildup and minimizes the adverse effects of acids on tooth enamel.
- Drink water and eat fibrous foods like fruits and veggies. Keeping hydration levels steady and eating fresh fruits and vegetables helps remove bacteria and prevents dry mouth that can encourage bacterial growth, cause plaque build-up that eventually becomes tartar, leading to yellow and brown stains on teeth.
- Avoid sugar and excessive dairy intake. Sugar and dairy products contain dense proteins that can fuel bacteria growth and plaque buildup that causes stains to stick to teeth and bad breath.
- Stop smoking and chewing tobacco. The nicotine and tar from cigarettes and chewing tobacco is the main cause of tooth yellowing. It is best to avoid tobacco products as they can discolor teeth, cause bad breath, and cause many other oral health issues.
- Don’t use mouthwashes containing peroxide. Peroxide can lead to tooth sensitivity and discomfort. A good peroxide-free mouthwash like TheraBreath Fresh Breath Whitening Oral Rinse, attacks discoloration with solubilizers that loosen stains and forms a protective barrier to help resist new stains while neutralizing existing odors from food and/or bacteria leaving breath fresh for 12-hours. The rinse contains natural enzymes that work with saliva to dissolve stains and contains an oxidizer to whiten teeth as well.
- Never use mouthwashes containing alcohol. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which causes dry mouth, worsens bad breath, and ultimately kills the oral microbiome which is essential for a healthy mouth.
- Be careful of chlorhexidine. An antibiotic mouthwash frequently prescribed by dentists for periodontal disease, chlorhexidine, actually stains teeth. Ask your dentist about alternative chlorhexidine-free formulas that work just as well and won’t stain teeth.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months. To keep oral hygiene in check, be sure to schedule regular visits with your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and checkups.
“Keeping a healthy, vibrant smile doesn’t have to involve complicated whitening treatments,” says Dr. Lawson D.D.S. “I advise my patients on these easy oral health habits and tips on what to look for in products so they can continue to enjoy their favorite food and beverages and avoid unsightly teeth stains.”
About Dr. Kent Lawson
Kent B. Lawson, DDS: Dr. Lawson is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American, Texas and Greater Houston Dental Societies. He graduated from Baylor with a BS and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from The University of Texas Dental Branch and has been practicing dentistry in Houston for 4 decades.
For more information, visit kentlawsondds.com/about/.