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How Coffee Stains Teeth: Color, Caffeine, and Corrosion
Coffee is one of the most common staining agents that teeth whitening combats. Find out why with Groupon’s examination of how coffee can tarnish your pearly whites.
When gazing into an inky-black cup of coffee, it’s not hard to imagine that it could stain your teeth. But while its color certainly can yellow chompers before their time, coffee has other nefarious tricks up its chemical sleeve that can leave their mark on your mouth. One is the same thing that gives a cup of joe its pep: caffeine, which also causes dehydration and decreases the production of saliva. Affectionately dubbed "the mouth's bloodstream" by the dental community, saliva naturally combats stain-causing bacterial invasions and helps protect enamel. Enamel also comes under attack from coffee’s acidity, which makes its way through the pores of each tooth’s protective coating, darkening the dentin and keeping gums up past their bedtime.
Short of giving up coffee, there are a few things you can do to prevent stains in the first place or to prolong the effects of whitening. Brushing your teeth right after draining the last drop is best, and chewing sugarless gum will help kick saliva production back into gear. If you take your coffee iced, even drinking through a straw can help—it sends the liquid right past the front teeth, where stains are most visible.