There’s less than three days until Sept. 29, and many coffee lovers already know this day as International Coffee Day. Local mom-and-pop coffeehouses as well as large franchises will be celebrating as millions of coffee lovers around the world try out new places, visit their favorite baristas, or make a run to take advantage of one of the many coffeehouses and fast food chains giving coffee away for free; but one thing is certain-- everyone will be enjoying espresso. That means more coffee stained teeth.
During a routine cleaning earlier today, I asked my dentist, Dr. Bhargava DDS., at Bhargava & Bhargava Family Dentistry in Wichita Kan., “What’s the easiest ways to keep coffee stains off my teeth.”
Dr. Bhargava smiled as he looked down at me and said, “Easy, don’t drink coffee.” At which we both laughed. That was the answer expected to come from a good dentist, but unfortunately not the big tip that is going to help any of us coffee lovers on International Coffee Day.
Dr. Bhargava did, however have a few other tips that will help coffee lovers keep those irritating coffee stains away from those pearly-whites.
“Use a straw,” he said, “it won’t totally save your teeth from staining and the effects the sugar has on your teeth, but it will give your teeth less direct exposure to the coffee.”
According to Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS., who most people online have come to know as, Dr. B., also agrees with Dr. Bhargava’s suggestion, and adds;
“There are also other concerns with drinking from straws. Drinking through a straw causes gas. It also causes wrinkles around the mouth; the puckering you do to sip from a straw emulates what smokers do when they take a drag on a cigarette, which gives those unsightly wrinkles around the upper lip.” [Source: AskTheDentist]
The next big tip Dr. Bhargava had was keeping a glass of water close by; “Drink water right after you’ve had your coffee. Give it a little swirl. Drinking a glass of water will help stop the acids and flush the sugar out.”
This is a tip that Dr. B also agrees with Dr. Bhargava on;
“The best thing to do after enjoying a sugary or staining drink (if you must) is to chase it with a glass of water, or even better, brush your teeth! Either one neutralizes the acids and minimizes the staining and damage to the teeth.”
The fourth tip for putting a stop those coffee stains on your teeth, according to Dr. Bhargava; “Carry a toothbrush with you or a travel brush.”
This may seem like a hassle, but it’s really not. I travel for writing, film, etc., and I found that you can buy a cheap travel tooth brush and tooth paste for about a dollar. They’re even built to fold into themselves as a case too. You don’t have to take tooth paste with you, but having the brush in your purse, Ipad case, travel bag, man-purse, or pocket isn’t asking too much. A quick stop to the bathroom and a brush with water alone after your coffee is even better than just having a glass of water.
For serious traveling coffee drinkers, (like me) Colgate makes a great product called Colgate Wisp, which are also great to have on you. It’s a little three-inch skinny plastic stick; bristles on one side with a dot of toothpaste in the center, that you lightly bite on to release and then brush, and a soft plastic pick at the opposite, to get anything that may be caught in your teeth.
The last tip Dr. Bhargava shared, and probably the most important in keeping coffee stains off your teeth; “Brush with baking soda.”
According to MDHealth online,
“The major benefits of brushing with baking soda are its teeth whitening and plaque removal properties, as well as its affordability relative to other commercially available teeth whiteners. Brushing with baking soda removes plaque deposits from teeth; plaque deposits contribute to tooth decay. The biggest benefit of brushing with baking soda is the improvements that it imparts onto overall dental health.” [Source: MDHealth.com]
Brushing with baking soda is also great because as you brush it polishes your teeth giving it a quicker ‘whitened’ appearance. It’s also important to know that too much baking soda can irritate your gums, so the Doctors that put together MDHealth, outlined a great process for brushing with baking soda.
These brushing with baking soda steps come straight from MDHealth:
- Wet the toothbrush with water and then dip the brush into the baking soda. This ensures that the baking soda sticks to the bristles of the toothbrush.
- Once of all the bristles are completely covered with baking soda it should have a white paste-like appearance.
- Brush teeth for 2 minutes.
- Rinse with water to remove any residual baking soda.
Note: Brushing with baking soda may result in burning and/or tingling sensations. If these sensations become unbearable, you should stop brushing with baking soda immediately and rinse out your mouth with copious amounts of water.
Since strawberries have coffee stain cleaning properties, MDHealth also suggests mashing up a fresh strawberry, mixing it with the baking soda, and following the same steps for brushing.
With great tips from the people who know best about your teeth, I hope you’re now ready to take on International Coffee Day with all the zest and gusto you can muster. Just don’t get caffeine poisoning.
For More Information:
- Check out Bhargava & Bhargava Family Dentistry here
- More ‘Brushing with Baking Soda’ from MDHealth online
- AskTheDoctor: Meet Dr. B., DDS. On his oral hygiene resource blog
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