How to Drink Your Coffee So Your Teeth Stay Stain and Cavity-Free (2023)

Coffee has plenty of benefits for your overall health. Studies have connected it with a lower risk of developing cancer, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and a lower risk of dying from heart disease. But coffee has a more notorious reputation when it comes to your teeth.

Coffee is acidic, which means it can break down enamel, or the tooth’s outer layer. It’s also full of tannins—the molecules that give it a dark color.

Coffee’s ability to damage or stain your teeth really comes down to two things: exposure time and frequency, Augusto Robles, DDS, MS, DMD, an associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s school of dentistry, told Health.

Exposure time has to do with how long it takes you to drink your coffee. Drinking it slowly, with pauses between sips, exposes your teeth over and over again to the acid and tannins. If you sip on multiple cups of coffee for hours every day, your teeth never get a break.

“Long exposure never lets your saliva fully neutralize the acidity in your mouth,” said Robles.

Saliva is one of your mouth’s main mechanisms for preventing cavities. But if you’re constantly sipping on coffee, your saliva is not able to fully wash it away. And if sugar and cream are in the mix, it can further the risk of damage to the enamel and, over time, tooth decay.

Although coffee can be bad for your teeth, there are things you can do to mitigate the risks. Keep reading to find out.

How Drinking 2-3 Cups of Coffee a Day May Help You Live a Longer Life

You might remember a simple lesson in elementary school where your teacher dropped a boiled egg in a cup of coffee and let it sit. An hour later, the egg would come out brown. Something similar can happen to your teeth.

Teeth are made up of many layers. The outer layers have tiny ridges and pores where residue can build up, according to Robles. Anything with tannins, like red wine, soy sauce, coffee, and tea can build up in those ridges and stain the tooth’s surface. Luckily, they don’t penetrate very deep.

In fact, if you brush your teeth after drinking coffee, you can remove most of the staining material, said Robles. If you don’t brush often enough, the staining will be worse.

Does Brushing Your Teeth After Drinking Coffee Prevent Stains?

Robles said the best time to brush your teeth after a cup of coffee is after—but not too soon after. Brushing before drinking coffee strips the teeth of its protective layer of saliva. When that saliva is there, it can help neutralize some of the acidity that reaches the surface of the tooth.

“If you brush and then go have coffee, you just peeled off your first [protective] layer,” said Robles.

If you do end up brushing your teeth before you drink coffee, you can wait 15 minutes before your first sip to allow that saliva barrier to rebuild itself.

Brushing after you enjoy your coffee is ideal to prevent long-term staining. But, in order to protect your teeth, you need to give your mouth time to neutralize.

“The surface of the teeth have been softened by the acid. If you go brush, you brush away a softened surface, and it's easier for you to take away tooth structure than it was before you drank your coffee,” said Robles.

To neutralize your mouth, you can either swish some water around to wash away the coffee or wait around 20 minutes to let your saliva do it naturally.

Moderate coffee drinking without the addition of sugar likely isn’t directly hurting your oral health.

Scientific analyses have found no associations between coffee and gum disease. Coffee is also not likely to be the direct cause of cavities. In fact, some research has pointed to it being beneficial against one of the main types of bacteria that cause cavities. More research needs to be done to make any direct conclusions.

If you’re worried about the impact coffee is having on your teeth, a few tweaks can help make your coffee habit less damaging:

Drink it Faster

You don’t have to drink your whole cup of coffee within minutes, but try allotting 30 minutes for coffee instead of sipping it over several hours.

Drinking the same amount of caffeine in smaller volumes might also be helpful. You can enjoy a cup or two of espresso much faster than a large dark roast.

Replace Coffee With Tea

While black tea will have a similar staining effect to coffee, other types of tea, including green and white tea, contain lower levels of tannins, research shows.

Switching to green tea can also be a positive move for your overall oral health. According to a large 2018 study, older people in Japan who frequently drank green tea were more likely to have better oral health than those who mostly drank coffee.

Use a Straw

If you drink iced coffee, you might already be sipping with a straw. But you can also try using a straw for warm coffee.

A straw is a great way to reduce coffee’s contact with your teeth. Just be sure you position it so that it goes past your front teeth.

Cut the Sugar

Adding sugar to your coffee can increase the risk of decay and cavities. If you drink your coffee with sugar every day, it may be a good idea to cut back.

Additionally, you could replace sugar with an artificial sweetener like xylitol, which is commonly found in sugar-free gum.

Add Dairy

Some older research has shown that adding milk to tea or coffee can reduce staining due to the protective effects of a protein called casein. However, another study found that teeth soaked in milk before being immersed in coffee still became stained.

Dr. Robles said milk does contain vitamins and minerals, like calcium and phosphorus, that are beneficial for keeping teeth healthy. But it also contains carbohydrates. Eventually, any carbohydrate residue on your teeth turns into damaging acids.

Therefore, milk in your coffee or not, it’s still a good idea to swish with water and brush your teeth afterwards.

Don’t Have Acidic Foods or Drinks Before Coffee

One of the worst things you can do is drink something acidic before drinking coffee, research suggests.

Acidic drinks like orange juice break down your tooth’s outer layer, making it especially susceptible to staining. Once you switch to coffee, those tannins will have no problem lodging themselves in the microscopic nooks and crannies on the tooth’s surface.

In fact, in one 2021 study, researchers soaked teeth in a variety of liquids, including orange juice, soda, milk, and green tea before immersing them in coffee. While all the teeth came out stained, the ones that were soaked in orange juice and soda, which are both very acidic, took on the most severe stains.

Rinse With Water

After you finish your coffee, swish some water around your mouth. Not only does this wash away some of the stain-inducing tannins, but it also helps neutralize the acid in your mouth. That way, you can brush your teeth without brushing away any broken-down enamel.

“When you're done, swish with water so you facilitate the clearing of the acid and neutralize the pH in the mouth,” said Robles.

Light Roast vs. Dark Roast Coffee: What Type Is Healthiest?

A Quick Review

Coffee has a reputation for staining your teeth. However, if you’re a coffee drinker, you certainly don’t have to give it up entirely to keep your teeth healthy and white. There are many things you can do to mitigate its effects.

One of the simplest steps you can take is to make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, ideally after you drink your coffee (but not too soon after). You can also try reducing the amount of time it takes for you to drink coffee each day.

If you’re still worried about stains, you can see your dental hygienist for cleanings more frequently. Additionally, you can try over-the-counter whitening strips or talk to your dentist about professional whitening sessions.

Was this page helpful?

How to Drink Your Coffee So Your Teeth Stay Stain and Cavity-Free (1)Thanks for your feedback!

Tell us why!


How to Drink Your Coffee So Your Teeth Stay Stain and Cavity-Free? ›

Always rinse with water.

By rinsing your teeth off quickly, however, they are less impacted by the tannins in your morning cup. Therefore, one of the ways that avid coffee drinkers can keep their teeth white is to rinse with water after drinking.

How do I drink coffee without staining my teeth? ›

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help lessen the impact drinking coffee has on your teeth.
  1. Drink through a straw. ...
  2. Add a little cream. ...
  3. Brush or rinse immediately after drinking. ...
  4. Practice quality oral hygiene. ...
  5. Use whitening toothpaste.
Sep 9, 2019

How do people drink coffee and keep white teeth? ›

Always rinse with water.

By rinsing your teeth off quickly, however, they are less impacted by the tannins in your morning cup. Therefore, one of the ways that avid coffee drinkers can keep their teeth white is to rinse with water after drinking.

How do you take care of your teeth if you drink coffee? ›

One of the most effective ways to help reduce the effects of coffee on your teeth including thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth shortly after a cup of coffee to reduce stains. You want to wait at least 30 minutes after drinking coffee to brush as it will allow the acid in your mouth to neutralize.

Why does coffee stain my teeth so easily? ›

Why Does Coffee Stain My Teeth? While the enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, it does have tiny pores. When you drink coffee, the tannins in the brew seep into those pores, leaving deep stains behind. As coffee is acidic, it can also wear the enamel away over time, leading to more stains.

Will one coffee a day stain teeth? ›

Tannins cause color compounds to stick to your teeth. When these compounds stick, they can leave an unwanted yellow hue behind. It only takes one cup of coffee a day to cause stained teeth. How can you avoid tooth discoloration without giving up your favorite morning drink?

What type of coffee doesn't stain teeth? ›

Opt for Decaf or Cold Brew

Since it contains less caffeine, it's less likely to stain your teeth. If you're not a fan of decaf but would like to prevent stains, you can brew your coffee cold. While cold brewing may take longer, it can effectively prevent coffee stains.

Will drinking coffee through a straw prevent staining? ›

Using a straw can help reduce the number of stains. Drinks like soda, coffee, or wine can leave a real impact on the whiteness of your teeth. By drinking them through a straw, it gives the beverage less time exposed to your teeth, resulting in less staining.

Can you reverse coffee stained teeth? ›

There are many ways to remove coffee stains from your teeth, including whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, and professional whitening treatments. You may need more than one treatment to completely remove coffee stains from your teeth.

Does chewing gum after coffee help prevent stains? ›

Chew sugar-free gum

Chewing some gum after your coffee can help prevent staining for this reason: the act of chewing increases the amount of saliva you produce. This influx of saliva can wash away staining substances.

Which coffee is best for teeth? ›

Sweetened coffee drinks combine the acid of coffee with tons of sugar, which means they're much worse for your oral health. While you can enjoy sweet coffee beverages in moderation, your teeth will be better off if you primarily drink black coffee.

What toothpaste removes coffee stains? ›

Toothpaste with Fluoride and Baking Soda

We recommend using Arm and Hammer Advanced Whitening toothpaste as the best toothpaste for removing surface stains from the teeth. The baking soda acts like an exfoliator on the teeth and the fluoride helps protect the enamel from harmful bacteria.

Are coffee stains on teeth permanent? ›

Does coffee stain teeth permanently? Happily, coffee stains on your teeth aren't permanent, and can be removed with a whitening toothpaste or a professional whitening treatment from your dentist or orthodontist. It's largely the tannins in coffee that cause teeth to discolour.

Can enamel grow back? ›

While it is possible to strengthen and fortify enamel with substances such as fluoride, it is important to understand that no product can cause lost enamel to “grow back.” Once your tooth's enamel is worn away, it is worn away forever, and can only be restored with synthetic solutions such as veneers.

Should I brush my teeth right after drinking coffee? ›

But you could be damaging the enamel on your teeth, especially if what you are consuming is acidic like coffee. Acid will weaken your enamel, which can increase your chances of cavities or tooth decay, so you should wait 30-60 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating or drinking.

Does brushing teeth before coffee prevent stains? ›

We don't want either of these things to happen, but dental experts agree that brushing BEFORE you drink coffee is better than after. If you've removed plaque buildup and your teeth are clean before you drink coffee, it's more difficult for stains to adhere to the surface of your teeth.

What stains your teeth the most? ›

Common teeth-staining foods
  • Tea and coffee. Tea (including green tea) and coffee contain tannins, which cause staining.
  • Red wine. Drinking red wine is one of the most common causes of tooth staining.
  • Cola. ...
  • Fruit juices. ...
  • Tomato-based sauces. ...
  • Curry. ...
  • Balsamic vinegar. ...
  • Soy sauce.
Sep 20, 2022

Does drinking water after coffee prevent stains? ›

Drinking water after drinking any potentially staining beverages — coffee, tea, colas, and red wine are the biggest culprits — can help you prevent the staining of your enamel. The water will act as a rinse and help to remove any staining substances from your teeth.

Is there such a thing as clear coffee? ›

Clear Coffee is the world's first colorless coffee drink. It's made with roasted Arabica coffee beans and water, essentially posing as clear cold brew. Each 200 mL bottle contains 100 mg of caffeine, so it packs about the same caffeine kick as its regular coffee counterpart, but without the teeth-staining color.

What drink has caffeine but won't stain teeth? ›

If you need caffeine, but don't want your teeth to be stained, switch to something lighter in color. Green tea contains caffeine, is much healthier for you than coffee or soda, and is light enough that it won't stain.

What is the best drink to not stain your teeth? ›

When it comes to beverages that help you maintain a healthy, stain-free smile, water is the best. Water helps to flush away acids, food particles, and bacteria that can all cause stains. Unlike wine and coffee, water is clear and doesn't contain dark-colored tannins that can leave stains behind on the enamel.

How to make your teeth white? ›

Still Interested in Whitening?
  1. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes.
  2. Use a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  3. Cleaning between your teeth once a day.
  4. Limiting foods that stain your teeth, like coffee, tea and red wine.
  5. Not smoking or using tobacco.

What mouthwash is good for coffee stains? ›

Fortunately, you can enjoy that coffee or glass of wine with LISTERINE ULTRACLEAN® STAIN PROTECTION Antiseptic Mouthwash. It helps prevent stains by fighting the tartar buildup that discolours teeth.

Can dentist cleaning remove coffee stains? ›

Such stains appear on the teeth over time as a result of excessive coffee drinking, tea drinking or smoking. The good news is that our dentists can help you remove all of those uncomfortable brown stains, and they can remove yellow stains, too.

How do you get deep stains off your teeth? ›

Baking Soda & Water

If you're sure that the staining is caused by the foods or beverages you're consuming, there's a simple home remedy that can often help whiten them again. Mix baking soda and water, and brush your teeth with it every few days to supplement your typical oral care routine.

How can I strengthen my tooth enamel? ›

Try non-acidic foods: Certain foods are good for your enamel. Many types of fruits and vegetables, dairy products such as milk, and foods or drinks containing fluoride – notably spinach, grapes and black tea – will be useful to naturally restore enamel.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove coffee stains from teeth? ›

Hydrogen peroxide is another effective solution for removing coffee stains from teeth. Simply mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water, then swish it around in your mouth for one minute before spitting it out. Make sure to rinse with plain water afterward to remove any remaining residue.

Does Dawn dish soap remove coffee stains? ›

Mix a small amount of laundry detergent with some cool water, and gently rub it into the stain. (If you don't have any laundry detergent on hand, a gentle dish soap, like Dawn, is actually a great substitute.) Let it sit for up to a few minutes before rinsing it with water.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for teeth? ›

Hydrogen peroxide can be damaging to your gums, your tongue, and your tooth enamel, leading to painful decay that could be costly to repair. Like many chemicals, hydrogen peroxide is only safe in small doses.

Can you save stained teeth? ›

Common causes of extrinsic stains include pigmented food or beverages like berries and coffee, the buildup of plaque, and tobacco use. These stains can usually be reversed with regular dental cleanings or by brushing your teeth using a toothpaste with whitening power.

Are stained teeth still healthy? ›

Plaque and tartar will accumulate, causing tooth decay, gum disease and more oral health issues. Discolored teeth often contain cavities. Cavities are tiny holes in teeth that damage their structure. Discolored teeth can also cause gingivitis, which involves bleeding and inflammation of the gums.

Can you recover stained teeth? ›

Professional teeth whitening is the safe and effective way to fix extrinsic stains, restoring some of the luster of your smile that's been dimmed by years of eating and drinking enamel-staining foods and beverages.

How do I know if my enamel is gone? ›

As the enamel continues to erode, your teeth might turn a gray or yellowish color. If your teeth change shape, it's a good indicator that you have enamel damage. Your teeth may begin to appear rounded, develop ridges, and often the gaps between teeth will become more substantial.

How can I fix my damaged teeth naturally? ›

The following home remedies might help prevent cavities or treat “pre-cavities” by remineralizing weakened areas of your enamel before a cavity develops:
  1. Sugar-free gum. ...
  2. Vitamin D. ...
  3. Brush with fluoride toothpaste. ...
  4. Cut out sugary foods. ...
  5. Oil pulling. ...
  6. Licorice root.

Does Sensodyne actually repair enamel? ›

Sensodyne Pronamel works by repairing tooth enamel and remineralizing each tooth deep within its surface, to protect from further damage and acid erosion.

Should I rinse my mouth with water after drinking coffee? ›

Drink water: You should already be drinking water throughout the day to keep hydrated, and after coffee is no exception. After you've finished a cup of coffee, drink plain water to rinse your teeth off. The water will act as a buffer to the acid in the coffee that is now in your saliva.

Is it best to drink coffee before or after breakfast? ›

"Individuals should try to balance the potential stimulating benefits of caffeinated coffee in the morning with the potential for higher blood glucose levels and it may be better to consume coffee following breakfast rather than before," said Harry Smith, who led the study, as quoted by NottinghamshireLive.

Is it OK to drink water before brushing teeth in the morning? ›

Drinking-Water First Thing In The Morning

The germs and bacteria inside your mouth multiply during the night. When you drink water in the morning before brushing, it will clean out your mouth and make tooth-brushing more effective.

How do coffee drinkers keep teeth white? ›

Always rinse with water.

By rinsing your teeth off quickly, however, they are less impacted by the tannins in your morning cup. Therefore, one of the ways that avid coffee drinkers can keep their teeth white is to rinse with water after drinking.

How long should I wait after brushing my teeth to drink coffee? ›

“After brushing, it is safe to drink water and coffee immediately since the minerals in toothpaste have strengthened, remineralized, and rid the teeth surfaces of bacteria build up,” Dr. Huang shares. “However, for the best taste, you may want to wait 10 minutes to avoid toothpaste-flavored coffee or water.”

Does coffee stain back of teeth? ›

Unfortunately, it's true. Coffee contains ingredients called tannins that can stain your teeth and noticeably dull your smile. But don't worry: you don't have to give up your morning cup of joe to protect your teeth.

Does mouthwash help with coffee stains? ›

If you have already faced staining problems then you have to use a mouthwash. You should choose that mouthwash which has whitening properties. You should make sure that coffee is not leaving a stain on your teeth if it is then you should take it more because it is very painful for your throat as well as your teeth.

What drinks don't stain your teeth? ›

When it comes to beverages that help you maintain a healthy, stain-free smile, water is the best. Water helps to flush away acids, food particles, and bacteria that can all cause stains. Unlike wine and coffee, water is clear and doesn't contain dark-colored tannins that can leave stains behind on the enamel.

What is the cleanest type of coffee? ›

The healthiest way to take your coffee is hot-brewed and black. One cup has virtually no calories or carbs, no fat, and is low in sodium.

How do you make colorless coffee? ›

Bring the 2 cups of coffee to a boil and immediately whisk in agar-agar for 15 seconds. Remove from heat and pour hot coffee mixture into a large container. Add remaining 7 cups of coffee to this mixture. Split the entire mixture into 5 sealable containers and place them in the fridge.

Does Starbucks have a clear drink? ›

That's right, y'all — get ready for Clear Drink! A refreshing blend of water and ice, the drink is the most Instagrammable creation this side of the clear waters of the Caribbean. Imagine how envious your friends will be when they see this sparkling, diamond-esque beauty pop up in their feed.

Does brushing teeth remove coffee stains? ›

The simplest solution to get rid of coffee stains is to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. This will help remove plaque, which can also contribute to discoloration.

Why do I love coffee but my teeth are yellow? ›

How does coffee stain teeth? The big culprits are tannins, and they are commonly found in drinks like coffee. Tannins are a type of polyphenol that breaks down in the water. Tannins release coloured products that stick to rough surfaces on your teeth, causing yellow or brown discolouration.

What comes first coffee or brush teeth? ›

According to Christina Meiners, a dentist at the nonprofit CommuniCare Health Centers, you should actually be brushing your teeth before drinking coffee, as doing so will allow stains to lift easier.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kerri Lueilwitz

Last Updated: 27/10/2023

Views: 5384

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kerri Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1992-10-31

Address: Suite 878 3699 Chantelle Roads, Colebury, NC 68599

Phone: +6111989609516

Job: Chief Farming Manager

Hobby: Mycology, Stone skipping, Dowsing, Whittling, Taxidermy, Sand art, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Kerri Lueilwitz, I am a courageous, gentle, quaint, thankful, outstanding, brave, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.