It’s true that what we eat and drink can cause tooth stains. Many of these, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and wine, are notorious for causing staining. While the ideal situation would be to avoid these whenever possible, but it can difficult since beverages like coffee and tea are often a regular part of our lives. The good news is that there are things you can do to minimize the staining created from the things you eat and drink. Here’s how:
Add Milk to Coffee or Tea
Did you know that milk or cream could prevent coffee or tea from causing stains? Many people drink these beverages on a regular basis, which means that they are impossible to avoid. The simple act of adding some milk or cream helps prevent staining because the proteins in milk bind to the stain-causing agents in the milk. Because of this, the compounds move on to your stomach rather than bind to your teeth.
Use a Straw When Drinking
Do you drink a lot of soda, iced tea, or iced coffee? If so, you should consider using a straw when you drink them. These beverages are all rich in compounds that can stain the teeth. By using a straw, the liquid bypasses your teeth and moves right on through to your stomach. You can even use a straw for hotter beverages! Just use a smaller straw, like a coffee stirrer. Those are designed to accommodate hot liquids.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Did you know that chewing sugarless gum can prevent stains? Saliva does more than just lubricate your mouth. It actually contains chemicals that can help keep your teeth clean. Saliva helps rinse away things that stain before they can adhere to the teeth. This option shouldn’t replace brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth, but it is better than nothing if you have no other choice.
Wait to Brush Your Teeth
If you did drink something that you know will stain, your impulse might be to brush them right way to get the staining agents off your teeth. Resist this urge! If you brush right away, it could actually encourage the staining agents to penetrate deeper into your teeth. However, if you wait thirty minutes, this will give your saliva a chance to begin to wash the stains away.
No matter how careful you are, stains are bound to happen. The good news is that your dentist can help you take care of them! Speak to him or her about your options during your next appointment, or you can even schedule a separate appointment to go over your options.