Teeth Discolouration: Fix and Prevent Coffee Stained Teeth

woman with white teeth smiling into her mug of coffee.

Coffee is pure love for some and a necessity for many to start their day. However, this delicious hot beverage causes stained teeth easily. The problem is manageable if you reduce your coffee intake and use simple, home remedies, to lighten the discolouration.

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are the most popular natural remedies that many coffee lovers swear by. Additionally, if you maintain a healthy oral hygiene regime, you can keep your teeth pearly white and stain-free!

Surviving the day without a cup of morning coffee seems like a task that you can never accomplish. As the day drags on, you go on to have one or two more cups of coffee without realising it. The energy the caffeine gives you becomes essential to get through with your daily routine and chores. Or, you simply love the coffee flavour and cannot stop yourself from having a few cups of it regularly. The ‘feel-good’ factor of having coffee needs to be weighed against the damage it can cause to your teeth.

While research suggests that up to two cups of coffee per day is not harmful to the body; these two cups will definitely start to discolour your teeth and damage your enamel in a matter of a few months. Don’t worry about having to give up on your daily caffeine dose, as there are many ways to keep the teeth protected and even reverse the discolouration to a great extent.

Let’s dig into the details and keep our teeth pearly white without having to compromise too much on our coffee intake.

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How/Why Does Coffee Stain The Teeth?

a single teaspoon, a heartshape filled with coffee beans and two hands holding a mug of black coffee - translating I heart coffee.

Each tooth is covered with a protective layer known as the enamel. It is a thin, transparent shell that covers the crown of the tooth and protects it from wear and tear. It also protects the tooth from bacteria, low/high temperatures, and harmful chemicals that can be found in the food and drinks we consume.

When it comes to the stained teeth that result from drinking coffee, it is the enamel discolouration that is being referred to. 

Coffee contains many chemical compounds, such as tannins (polyphenols), caffeine, and different types of acids. Tannins (tannic acid or gallotannic acid) are chemical polyphenols that are found in coffee beans and are responsible for giving coffee its colour. When these tannins come in contact with the teeth, they latch onto the enamel and cause the yellow discolouration. The enamel has microscopic pits in its structure and the tannins from the coffee lodge into these holes. As a result, the physical appearance of the teeth alters and they appear stained and yellow. With time, the acidic nature of your favourite morning beverage starts to damage and erode your enamel making it more susceptible to the staining from the tannins.

Natural Remedies To Whiten Stained Teeth

The unpleasantness and embarrassment caused by stained teeth can be dealt with easily by simply opting for natural remedies that will give you a whiter smile. Home remedies are a safe way to whiten stained teeth as they do not involve the use of harsh chemicals, like bleach, that is used in professional teeth whitening treatments.

Here are our favourite natural remedies to whiten stained teeth.

Baking Soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate has a rough texture and works as a mild abrasive when used for whitening stained teeth at home. When brushing, add some baking soda on top of your toothpaste and brush your teeth as usual.

Do not apply excessive pressure as this is not required and can cause more harm than good to your enamel. Repeat this every alternate day for a week and you will notice a difference.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is almost a compulsory natural remedy you will come across for many ailments. For whitening coffee-stained teeth, the acidity of the vinegar helps to lighten the yellowness and also kill the bacteria in the mouth. Rinse your mouth with diluted apple cider vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with water.

Always rinse your mouth with the plain water afterwards because prolonged exposure to the acidity can damage the enamel.

glass jars of apple cider vinegar, next to an array of apples.

Banana Peel

Next time you eat a banana, save the peel and use them to whiten your teeth. Rub the inside of the peel (the white side) on the teeth for a minute or so and let the remnants from the peel sit on your teeth for three to five minutes.

Brush your teeth as usual after this.

You can repeat this natural remedy every day for a week to 10 days to see the difference in your teeth colour. The enzymes and minerals in the banana peel promote oral health and lighten the discolouration of your yellow teeth.

Strawberries

The vitamin C and other acids in strawberries will whiten your teeth in a matter of 10 to 12 days. Grind about two to three strawberries coarsely and apply this paste on your teeth. Keep the strawberries on your teeth for three to four minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

You can follow up this with regular brushing. Do this before you hit the bed every night for the recommended time period.

close up of a person holding a strawberry, which is proven to remove coffee stains from teeth.

Hydrogen-Peroxide

The bleaching properties of hydrogen-peroxide can fade away surface stains from your teeth and whiten them over time. Dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of room temperature water. Rinse your mouth with homemade mouthwash. Swish the liquid around for two to three minutes and follow it up with a plain water rinse.

Repeat this a few times per week.

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How To Prevent Or Lessen Teeth-Staining While Drinking Coffee?

While the natural remedies can be your go-to solution to get whiter teeth and reverse the effects of the tannins in the coffee, preventive tips can help in reducing the amount of discolouration that happens to begin with.

Avoid Sugar

Sugar in your beverages, including coffee, can instigate bacterial growth in the oral cavity.  These micro-organisms cause plaque formation and damage the enamel. Because of this, the teeth staining can become aggravated or worse. Hence, it is best to refrain from adding sugar to your coffee as much as possible.

Use A Straw

When you drink coffee, the tannins in the liquid come in direct contact with your teeth as the coffee washes against them in the mouth. Before you gulp it down, the tannins have already gotten into the enamel pits leading to the yellow hues to develop. By using a straw to drink your coffee (yes, even hot coffee!) you can minimize the interaction between the coffee chemicals and your teeth.

woman wearing red lipstick whilst sipping on ice blended coffee.

Drink Rather Than Sip

If you are somebody who likes to relish the coffee flavours in their mouth by sipping on it, then your teeth are definitely going to experience the maximum amount of staining. The duration for which the teeth are exposed to the coffee is directly proportional to the degree of staining that occurs. So, drink your coffee as quickly as possible instead of sipping on it all day long.

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Go Decaf

Higher amounts of caffeine mean higher concentrations of tannins in the coffee! By opting for decaffeinated versions, you can easily lessen the teeth staining while drinking coffee.

Water Rinse

After you have had your daily cuppa, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.  Make sure to give a gap of a few minutes and to use room temperature water. This will help to rinse away the chemicals from the surface of the teeth and prevent staining to a decent extent.

Remove Coffee Stains - a woman wearing glasses, brushing her teeth in front of a mirror.

Brush After Drinking Coffee

If possible, brush your teeth after drinking coffee. The thorough cleansing action of brushing your teeth is definitely better than just rinsing. This might not be possible in everyday life, but if it is, then definitely opt for it. A gap of 30 to 40 minutes after drinking coffee is suitable so as to not damage the teeth from the brushing right after drinking a hot beverage.

How To Maintain A Proper Oral Hygiene Routine To Keep Teeth Sparkling?

The discolouration caused by coffee is primarily in the form of surface stains. Practising proper oral hygiene can prevent these stains from developing beyond your control and will keep your beautiful smile sparkling.

blue toothbrush with clear toothpaste on, with a blue background.

Dentists recommend following this oral hygiene routine:

Brush Using A Whitening Toothpaste

If you are a regular coffee (or tea) drinker, it is best to use a whitening toothpaste instead of a regular one. The whitening components will counteract the yellowing effects of coffee side by side and not let the staining become too deep.

Flossing

Dentists insist on this for any and all oral problems! Flossing will get rid of any food remnants from in between your teeth. These remnants promote bacterial growth which in turn leads to teeth discolouration and, eventually, cavities.

Use A Mouthwash

Just like the toothpaste, pick a mouthwash that targets surface stains and use it to rinse your mouth regularly. You can dilute the liquid slightly with plain water if the taste becomes too overpowering for you. Swishing the liquid around will get to all the nooks and corners your toothbrush does not have access to.

woman smiling whilst wearing red lipstick and showing her bright white teeth.

Regular Oral Cleaning

A whiter smile is guaranteed if you stick to your ‘twice a year’ visits to the dentist. Regular oral cleaning will keep the surface stains at bay as much as possible and also keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Now you can protect your teeth from permanent discolouration without giving up your caffeine addiction! Why not check out the other uses for coffee, within our Suggested Articles: Tint your Eyebrows Naturally at Home Using Coffee and Chocolate & Diy Coffee Scrub: 11 Coffee Skincare Recipes For Smooth Skin.

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