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Teeth Whitening

How Does Coffee Affect Your Teeth?

Indianapolis Dentistry features flat-screen TV’s, an office area to get online, and a coffee bar. We love coffee, but we don't love what it can do to your teeth.

If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." -Abraham Lincoln

Your teeth are naturally going to become more yellow as you age, but there are certain activities which can expedite that process and help stain your teeth. Coffee is one of them.

Why does coffee stain teeth?

The enamel of our teeth is porous which makes it highly susceptible to stains. Usually, colored foods and beverages are major causes of discolored teeth, but it’s not just the color of food - it's also the food’s level of acidity.

Coffee is acidic and contains large amounts of tannins that are highly staining. The darker the beverage, the stronger the staining that could occur. Heat also expands the enamel, making it more porous and susceptible to stains.

What can I do to protect my teeth?

If you love coffee like we do, there are things you can do to help prevent staining from coffee:

  • Use a straw when drinking iced coffee - this will help the liquid bypass your teeth
  • Drink and swallow as quick as you can - the longer the teeth is exposed to it, the higher the chances of staining
  • Do not overbrush your teeth or brush too soon - acid from coffee makes your teeth sensitive for the first 15 minutes

How do I whiten my teeth if they are already stained?

Coffee and tea’s dark color and acidity can cause yellowing of the teeth over time, but is easily treated with teeth whitening." -Dr. Ted Reese, DDS, MAGD

Dr. Reese in Indianapolis is a cosmetic dentist who has been helping people get better smiles for over 30 years. He can help you whiten your teeth through in-office and take-home teeth whitening. Call 317-882-0228 for an appointment.

3 Things that Can Stain Your Teeth

Your teeth are naturally going to become more yellow as you age, but there are certain activities which can expedite that process and help stain your teeth. Teeth yellowing or staining can occur when certain food or drinks interact with your teeth. Coffee Stains Teeth

  1. Drinking coffee or tea - coffee and tea's dark color and acidity can cause yellowing of the teeth over time, but is easily treated with teeth whitening.
  2. Using tobacco products - cigarettes can stain teeth during smoking and chewing tobacco can stain teeth during chewing. They can also lead to cancer.
  3. Drinking red wine - the acids in wine eat away at tooth enamel, creating rough spots that make teeth more vulnerable to staining from other foods.

If you've already experienced teeth staining or yellowing from age, food, or drink, teeth whitening is still a viable option to regain the whiter teeth you had when you were younger. If you're looking for teeth whitening in Indianapolis, Dr. Reese is your Indianapolis cosmetic dentist.

Foods to Avoid Staining Your Teeth

Our teeth say a lot about us - even the foods we eat are reflected on the colors of our teeth. Stained or discolored teeth are attributed largely to certain foods so we have come up with a list of foods to avoid staining your teeth.

Why do teeth stain?

The enamel of our teeth is porous which makes it highly susceptible to stains. Usually, colored foods and beverages are major causes of discolored teeth. However, it’s not just the color of food that you need to look out for but also the food’s level of acidity and temperature. Acidic foods and beverages, even ones that are not brightly colored, promote stains by wearing away at the enamel and temporarily softening the teeth and making them more susceptible to stains. A classic example would be hot coffee.

List of foods to avoid staining your teeth

“The rule of thumb is anything that can stain a white T-shirt can stain your teeth too.”  Foods To Avoid Staining Your Teeth

  • Soda and sports drinks. These carbonated drinks are full of acid and they strip away your tooth enamel long after you have stopped drinking – causing further erosion of the enamel and subsequent staining.
  • Coffee and tea. These drinks have large amounts of tannins that are highly staining. The darker the beverage, the stronger the staining that could occur. Add heat into the mix and you not only erode your teeth enamel but also expand them making them more porous and susceptible to stains.
  • Wine. Both red and white wines can stain your teeth. Red wine contains tannins that stain while white wine has an acidic composition making teeth more prone to staining.
  • Candy. If you have noticed chewing candy and having colored teeth and tongue afterwards, it is most likely that it could stain your teeth for good. Sugar starts an acid attack on your teeth and we have already established how acidity plays a role in staining teeth.
  • Berries. Although great for your overall health, all kinds of berries can stain your teeth too. So, if you love eating berries, be sure to rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water after each indulgence.

While chances are you still might not be able to give up your morning coffee or the occasional wine indulgence, there are ways to enjoy these foods without having to increase the chances of staining your teeth.

Use a straw when drinking. Using a straw helps keep staining liquids away from the front teeth where stains can be more noticed.

Drink and swallow – quickly. You can still savor the taste and flavor of foods and drinks but be mindful of how long stain-causing foods stay in your mouth. The longer the teeth is exposed to it, the higher the chances of staining. It is also a good idea to limit intake of teeth staining foods – soda and candy were never good for anybody anyway.

Do not overbrush your teeth. Do not brush immediately after eating or drinking – either brush 30 minutes before or after. The American Dental Association recommends that one wait at least 30 minutes after a meal before brushing one’s teeth. This will allow saliva to neutralize the acids in the mouth.

Brighten Your Pearly Whites

If staining has occurred, there are natural ways to whiten one’s teeth and improve one’s smile. However, if these methods aren’t enough, Dr. Reese offers professional teeth whitening services. His practice and clinic can provide you with a complete variety of services to improve your smile, whether it be simple whitening, repair of a single front tooth, to veneers of the entire smile for maximum smile beautification. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Association for Functional Orthodontics. Schedule an appointment by calling 317-882-0228 today.

Natural Ways to Whiten Your Smile

“A smile can brighten one’s day.” Natural Ways to Whiten Your SmileWhile a smile can literally light up one’s face, it’s the teeth that are doing all of the work. This is why there are many people who want to whiten their teeth or explore cosmetic dentistry to make their teeth look bigger and brighter. There are natural ways to whiten one’s teeth, and prevention of tooth decay is the best way. Tooth decay is more dependent on one’s food choices than how many times one brushes everyday, so eating right has a big impact on our teeth.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking is extremely hazardous not only to your teeth but also your overall health. It gives you bad breath and tar deposits into ridges in your teeth that can permanently stain your teeth a yellowish color. It decreases saliva production, converting your mouth into a breeding ground for all bacteria and killing natural defenses of the nose and mouth.

Stay Clear of Foods that are Bad for Your Teeth

Acid is the worst enemy of the teeth. It erodes enamel, letting bacteria to enter, plaque to form and essential decay. Citrus juices like grapefruit and lemon juice are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time. In a 2008 study that involved soaking pulled teeth in various citrus juices, those two caused the most damage. Orange juice caused the least. Chewy and hard candies are acid formers too. Sugar combined with bacteria results in acid and dissolves the protective layer of teeth and eventually causes cavities.

As a rule of thumb, any liquid that can stain a white tablecloth can stain your teeth. Soda and sports drinks have long been established to be harmful to teeth. Even sugar-free diet sodas like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi—which both contain citric and phosphoric acid—can erode enamel if consumed in large doses. Tannins found in wine and some tea drinks have very high doses of acid that not only stain teeth but erode teeth enamel as well.

Note that the foods mentioned above are bad for the teeth when taken in excessive amounts. Moderation is still the key

Eat Foods that are Good for Your Teeth

Saliva is the body’s way of washing away acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.  It also bathes the teeth in calcium and phosphate that are bone-strengthening minerals. Chewing increases saliva production. So foods that encourage chewing like surgarless gum and high fiber foods like vegetables can be helpful to keep your teeth clean of bacteria.

Milk and other dairy products are the primary dietary source of calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth. Calcium is the key ingredient in a mineral, known as hydroxyapatite that strengthens tooth enamel as well as bones.

According to the American Dental Association, the phosphorus in steak protects tooth enamel and bone. "Plus, the constant chewing that comes with red meat also keeps the mouth and gums exercising to keep them strong," says Irwin Smigel, D.D.S., P.C., founder and president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics and creator of the Supersmile whitening system. In fact, a 2013 German study suggests that the more you chew, the stronger and cleaner your teeth.

Dark chocolate contains theobromine that can harden tooth enamel. Look for bars that contain at least 70 percent cacao to boost your tannins while keeping sugar to a minimum.

Stawberries contain a natural enamel whitener called malic acid. People who practice holistic treatments use these berries to make their own DIY home teeth whitening treatment: Crush a strawberry to a pulp, mix it with baking soda, and spread it on your teeth using a soft toothbrush. Five minutes later, brush it off, rinse and voila: a whiter smile. (Be sure to floss, though, as tiny strawberry seeds can easily get trapped between your teeth. 

Drink lots of water

Water, like saliva, helps wash sugars and acid off teeth. It also contains fluoride, a mineral that protects against tooth erosion.

Other Natural Methods

Coconut oil pulling and making your own teeth whitening toothpaste can also help whiten your teeth. Combine 1/2 tsp baking soda with ½ tsp table salt to make a teeth cleanser. Add one drop of breath-freshening peppermint essential oil to the mixture. Wet your toothbrush, dip it into the mixture and brush. The particles in the baking soda polish the surface of your teeth, while a chemical reaction with the water lightens stains. To avoid damaging your enamel, don’t use this method more than once a week.

Professional Whitening Services by Dr. Reese

When these things aren't enough, you may still need professional whitening, which Dr. Reese can do for you. His practice and office can provide the complete variety of services dentistry has to offer to improve your smile, whether it be simple whitening, repair of a single front tooth, to veneers of the entire smile for maximum smile beautification. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Association for Functional Orthodontics. Schedule an appointment by calling 317-882-0228 today.