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Tea and coffee staining your teeth? Here's what to do...

Updated: Mar 2

tea and coffee staining your teeth

Tea and coffee staining your teeth? Here's what to do...

lots of people search the Internet for teeth whitening solutions, however there are a variety of ways to overcome to staining, particularly if it's caused by food and drink. Here's our quick guide to removing stains from your teeth and enjoying whiter smile.

Will drinking coffee make my teeth darker?

In a study conducted in 2014 researchers took a sample of 45 teeth which have had teeth whitening and expose them to a variety of drinks including coffee, tea, cola and red wine… All classically associated with staining teeth.

I actually found that there was no statistical difference with coffee, when compared to the control group which had artificial saliva in contact with the tooth.

However, there was a statistical difference with tea, cola and red wine which led the researchers to conclude that:

"Following tooth whitening, patients should avoid drinks that cause tooth staining, particularly red wine, tea and cola."

Having said that, if your teeth have cracks caused by trauma to your teeth then these cracks can certainly pick up all manner of stains, also a big cause of teeth looking darker after drinking coffee is when the plaque which is naturally over your teeth hardens into tartar between your teeth. This tartar is far more porous than your natural tooth structure and far more likely to attract stain.

The good news is that this tartar can easily be removed by visiting your dental hygienist and then maintaining a good oral hygiene routine to keep your pearly whites white.

How to make your teeth look whiter without visiting the dentist

There are few things you can do at home to keep your teeth looking as white as possible.

  • Brushing Your Teeth. The best way to keep your teeth as white possible is to brush your teeth daily for 2 min with the fluoride containing toothpaste. Clean in between your teeth once per day using floss or an incidental brush and rinse after meals with a fluoride mouthwash. This will prevent tooth decay, reduce the amount of tartar in between your teeth and your teeth as close to then natural colour as possible.

  • Chew gum after meals. Chewing sugarfree gum after a meal can help to stimulate saliva production in your mouth, this neutralises the acid attack on your teeth and thereby reduces the likelihood of dark teeth caused by dental decay.

  • Use whitening toothpaste. Whilst these will never whiten as much as a dedicated teeth whitening treatment (they just don't contain enough active agent) they can still help to keep your teeth looking bright and white.

And one final tip… If you are able wear red lipstick, lipstick can really help to increase the white looking nature of your teeth… Make up artists in the fashion world use this trick often.

red lipstick to make teeth look whiter

Image credit: Miki Hayes 2.19.15

How do dentists whiten teeth?

if you decide that your teeth have picked up tea and coffee stains then it is most likely the tartar in between your teeth which is stained, rather than actual teeth themselves.

Tea does however show more inclination to stained teeth that coffee.

The first course of action for any dentist when they come to whiten your teeth after tea and coffee staining is to look at your oral hygiene and where the tooth discolouration is happening.

Air abrasion using a special instrument which blasts fine sand onto the surface of your tooth can help to remove surface discolouration. When this is coupled with cleaning in between your teeth by the dental hygienist to remove the tartar it can have a dramatic effect on health white your teeth look.

Once your teeth are cleaned and any surface stains have been removed then your dentist can consider whitening the actual colour of your teeth. This involves using a hydrogen peroxide gel which is placed into a custom made bleaching tray, this fits accurately over the surface of your teeth holding the gel in contact with your teeth and preventing it from touching the delicate gum area.

You will typically wear this bleaching tray overnight for up to a week in order to lighten your tooth enamel so that it reaches the desired whiteness.

Is teeth whitening permanent?

After your teeth have been whitened with bleaching they will slowly darken over the following months and years. Generally speaking they don't go back to their former whitening colour and will stay permanently lighter however you will probably notice they aren't is white as they were when you first had the tooth discoloration treated by teeth whitening.

Can whitening your teeth damage them? Why?

teeth whitening itself will not damage your teeth however the manner in which the tooth whitening is administered certainly can. The hydrogen peroxide gel can burn the gum area around the tooth if it is left in contact with this area, this is why the whitening trays are custom made for you exclusively to fit tightly against your teeth to prevent the gel from touching your gum.

Unfortunately teeth whitening is sometimes offered by people that are not trained in the dental profession such as beauty therapists. Teeth whitening should only be undertaken if your gums are in good condition, they can easily become inflamed with teeth whitening if your oral hygiene is not as good as it should be.

Also, if you have tartar in between your teeth and it is not removed then all that will happen is that the tartar becomes white, because this is much more porous than natural teeth the tartar will stain again very quickly.

This is why teeth whitening should only be carried out by trained dental professional, they will ensure your teeth are cleaned prior to the teeth whitening meaning you get a much longer lasting result. They will also ensure that the whitening is carried out in the safest manner with the best cross infection control standards to ensure you remain safe, fit and healthy throughout your treatment.



Dr Saroshen Naidoo

Saroshen has a calm and reassuring manner which helps relax nervous patients. He has a special interest in cosmetic treatments, including teeth whitening, crowns and restorative build ups.

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