We LOVE Our Coffee - and You Can Too!
It makes your breath stinky. It stains your teeth. It dehydrates you. It's a wonder why we still love coffee! In all honesty though, there's nothing quite like a large iced coffee on a hot summer day or a fancy latte that you can sip and enjoy with your friends.
Hmm....you too? Well, read on for our favourite tips to keep your smile in tip-top shape!
Many pungent, strong foods can leave its mark on you well after you've consumed it and coffee may be the worst of it (in my opinion, anyways!) Some say that because coffee dehydrates you, bad bacteria linger in your mouth for a longer period of time (because there's less saliva to wash 'em away) and fester and cause that stench we so commonly refer to as "coffee breath".
Since many of us start the day with a cup of coffee, you may want to consider brushing and flossing after breakfast - to get rid of the bad bacteria. Many experts say to give about 20-30 minutes between consuming foods/beverages and brushing (so you don't damage the enamel), so you can always adjust your morning schedule to give as much time in between eating and brushing as possible - use that time to get the kids ready, to shower, to do eye makeup (you probably want to do face and lip stuff after brushing, though!), read the paper, etc.
Also remember to continually hydrate yourself - not just because it's good for your general health, but because it helps remove the odour-causing bad bacteria away.
If you have a summer garden and have mints and parsleys available, you could take a couple of leaves and chew them after your morning coffee. There's a reason why so many toothpastes are mint flavoured - because the scent is so refreshing!
The type of beverage you're choosing can make your coffee breath mild or really, really bad. Espresso and dark roasts may yield the worst breath. Light roast may leave you with the mildest coffee breath. Fancy coffee-shop beverages (which often contain the least amount of actual coffee) may also give you milder coffee breath.
For more tips on combating bad breath in general, check our this previous post!
What's our secret to bright white smiles? Well depending on the team member, we've used different methods!
For all of us, we maintain a regular hygiene schedule. While this doesn't *actually *whiten teeth, it can help to remove surface stains and build-up, which makes our teeth look smoother and helps to reflect light better - which give the illusion of a brighter smile. On the surface, the teeth will look cleaner - but the real reason for routine cleaning and check-ups is to prevent issues like dental decay, gum disease, etc.
If you're looking to lighten the shade of your teeth, we've got take-home Opalescence Kits, as well as in-office Zoom Whitening. Many of our coffee-drinking patients choose Zoom Whitening first - to get the most dramatic results (especially if they've got years worth of coffee stains to remove!), and then used the Opalescence Kits for occasional touch-ups. Some of our staffers went with the Opalescence Kits and got several shades whiter with just one tray! These were the team members who were more or less happy with their smiles - they had straight teeth, no major complaints and so, if they had to choose anything about their smiles to change, it be colour.
Other members of our team got permanent white teeth with veneers and crowns. They can drink all the coffee and tea they want and their teeth won't stain! Of course, veneers and crowns are a much bigger deal than simple whitening - it's much more time-consuming to have done and it's much more costly for the average person. So, to be honest, it's not often the path to choose if you're just concerned about coffee staining. The team members who chose this route either had really thin enamel to begin with - and benefitted from the added support of dental restoratives or there was something about their smile that they wanted to change (size, shape, and spacing were some considerations).
In terms of your oral health, dehydrated teeth are more prone to cavities and a dehydrated mouth is more prone to halitosis (bad breath). If you're not really willing to give up your coffee (LOL - neither are we!), the only real solution is to get into the habit of re-hydrating.
Choosing clean, filtered water is best because you don't have to worry about acidity damaging your enamel (like with orange juice, for example) and you also won't have to worry about water staining your teeth (obviously because it's a clear, colourless liquid!)
If you're a fan of coffee like us, remember to save a copy of this blog post for future reference! You don't have to avoid it to keep your smile healthy!