How To Protect Teeth From Coffee Stains

by Peter Taylor | Last Updated: 11 December 2019

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How To Protect Teeth From Coffee Stains

Lots of people like coffee, but much to the disappointment of those who enjoy a hot cup of one of the most popular beverages in the world, drinking it can sometimes come with the unfortunate side effect of stains on one’s teeth.

Instead of resorting to giving up coffee however, there are ways you can continue drinking a cup of caffeine goodness while protecting your pearly whites:

How to drink coffee so it does not stain teeth

Drink it through a straw – By drinking your coffee through a straw, you’ll savor it by drinking slowly and bypassing direct contact with your teeth.

Of course, hot beverages are not ideal for drinking through plastic straws, so invest in a reusable straw instead.

Try out one of these silicone straws made specifically for coffee and save your teeth while you save the planet from excessive plastic waste.

Chug it – Instead of sipping on a straw, take the opposite approach and slam back your morning cup of java back. By drinking it straight up with minimal contact with your teeth, you’ll get your kick of caffeine without the worry of stains.

Drink water – Aside from keeping you hydrated in between your cups of coffee (which is a diuretic after all and will make you go to the bathroom) drinking water will help you avoid stains. A couple of swigs here and there will help wash away any debris in between your teeth.

Coffee that does not stain teeth

It’s not necessarily coffee that stains teeth but polyphenols, one of the components in the drink that are the culprit.

If you aren’t ready to give up a hot cup of java quite yet, you can try drinking different types of coffee or those brewed by methods that lessen the polyphenols:

Dry roasted – Coffee made from beans that are dry-processed have fewer polyphenols and caffeine. Try drinking 100% Arabica beans which are dry roasted instead of Robusta beans which have more polyphenols and caffeine.

How To Protect Teeth From Coffee Stains

Types of brewBrewing coffee in different ways will not only affect the taste of the beverage but its contents. Decaf won’t stain your teeth as much as traditional methods since it has less caffeine and therefore fewer polyphenols.
Cold brews are also a great alternative if you want coffee that’s easier on your teeth. You can check out this list that compares other brewing methods and their potential to stain.

Just add milk – Casein, a protein in animal milk and dairy products has been shown to help teeth by creating a protective film over the enamel surface and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Casein also latches onto tannins in coffee, reducing the potential for stains.

Just be careful about adding sugar which can lead to bacteria that produce acids. These can dissolve and damage teeth, making them more susceptible to coffee stains.

How to remove coffee stains from your teeth

So you want to get your teeth back to a nicer, whiter color. There are different methods to removing coffee stains and improving the overall health of your teeth.

Brush them – This might seem like an obvious solution, but be careful because coffee is acidic and can soften the enamel on your teeth. Excessive or aggressive brushing after drinking coffee can could do more damage than good, so wait thirty minutes to an hour after drinking your coffee before you brush your teeth and be careful not to brush too hard. It might also be worth upgrading to a better toothbrush like a Sonicare which has been shown to be more effective and removing stains than a regular toothbrush.

Floss, floss, floss – Every dentist out there will remind you about the importance of flossing and there’s a good reason for that. The edges and in between teeth is where plaque tends to build up the most and stains become the most visible. If you hate flossing, perhaps you just need to find the right kind of floss for you. You’ll practice a healthy habit and you’ll get to keep drinking your coffee.

Visit your dentist – An appointment with your dentist doesn’t have to be a drastic measure, it can actually be a preventative one. Regular visits to the dentist can help keep the general health of your teeth in check.
In addition to professional cleaning, dentists can give you advice on how to prevent coffee stains and avoid other dental problems. After all, they are the experts.

Mouthwash – Just like brushing and flossing, using mouthwash can be an integral part of dental hygiene habits. Mouthwash can help prevent plaque which is what coffee stains stick to. If you happen to be out of mouthwash, rinsing with water can still be helpful in swilling away any debris that could stick to your teeth.

Invest in whitening products – There are numerous dental products you can purchase to help you keep your teeth their whitest. These include mouthwashes, toothpastes, and even at-home teeth-whitening kits. Be careful not to overuse some of these products, particularly if they contain bleaching agents. You may be doing more harm than good to your teeth making coffee stains the least of your worries.

What else can lead to teeth stains?

Drinking coffee over long periods of time however, does not guarantee you’ll eventually succumb to stains on your pearly whites. There may be other factors you need to be aware of:

Food and drink – Coffee can stain your teeth, but so can other foods and drinks. Tea and soda are common culprits that can contribute to discoloring your chompers, but so can juice and red wine. Even healthy foods like tomato sauces or turmeric can potentially leave stains on your teeth.

Tobacco products – Tobacco and chewing tobacco have long been known to be bad for our teeth, let alone our health. Smoking will only worsen any stains that coffee leaves on our teeth and make them vulnerable to diseases as well.

Trauma or Disease – Injuries to the mouth, particularly enamel formation in young children whose teeth are still developing can exacerbate stains. Chemotherapy and radiation can also discolor teeth.

Medication and medical treatments – Some medications have been known to stain. Tetracycline and doxycycline can cause discoloration in the teeth of children while they are still developing. Antihistamines like Benadryl and drugs for high blood pressure can also discolor teeth, as well as mouth rinses that contain chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride.

TimeWhen we brush our teeth can make a big difference to the benefits we might expect from doing so.

Most people are accustomed to the nighttime ritual of brushing your teeth before bed, doing so before breakfast can help reduce any bacterial buildup that’s occurred overnight while avoiding brushing acid from that morning’s breakfast into the enamel. Brushing between other meals and snacks can also be helpful in reducing stains.

Age – As we get older, the outer layer of enamel on our teeth naturally wears away and the dentin beneath begins to show a more natural yellow color. More important than our age, however, are the habits we’ve practiced.

You very well could find yourself in your senior years having drunk coffee every day but never experienced stained teeth or other dental problems. If you keep up with healthy dental hygiene practices regularly, you should be able to drink your coffee with little worry.


Coffee is a wonderful beverage enjoyed by people around the world but it can sometimes lead to stains on your teeth. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this, including changing the way you drink your coffee or simply trying a different version of it.

If you still find yourself worried about stains on your teeth, it might be worth examining how you take care of them and your overall dental hygiene before you make the decision to cut coffee from your life.

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