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For thousands and thousands of us coffee drinkers in South Florida, that morning cup o’ Joe is as important to properly starting off the day as brushing and flossing. All over the country more than half of Americans, 68% in fact, drink at least one cup within the first hour of waking up every day. But could that daily pick-me-up we crave every morning also be keeping us from having that brilliant smile we all dream of? And if so, is there any way that we can enjoy our morning coffee or tea fix while minimizing its effects on our teeth? Union Dental Services of Coral Springs, Florida has the answers!

So just what is it about coffee and tea that cause our teeth to become so darkened over time? In the case of coffee, it is the dark polyphenols, a type of powerful amino acid, in the drink that cause our teeth to darken. Anything you can do limit your teeth’s contact with these polyphenols will also reduce the chances of staining, such as drinking through a straw. Oddly enough, these polyphenols protect your teeth from some of the acids also present in the coffee that can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. They also provide protection from bacteria that can build up in the mouth over time, which in turn leads to tartar build-up that can cause conditions such as gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease.

The darker the coffee, the higher it’s chromogen content – Chromogens are chemical compounds which form strong pigments that can be difficult to remove over time. These powerful pigments can also be found in other dark beverages such as soda and red wine. Tea also provides some protection from the bacteria that can build up in the mouth, however teas also contain a high volume of tannic acids, which are plant-based chemical compounds which make it easier for stains to bind to the tooth enamel. Iced or hot, it doesn’t matter, only the frequency and amount.

But are there any ways for us to enjoy our coffee or other dark beverages without compromises the brightness of our smile? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Again, using a straw and limiting direct contact between your teeth and the dark liquid in question can prevent them yellowing over time. It’s also important for anyone who wants to obtain or keep their brilliant smile that they engage in regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing their mouth with mouthwash afterwards. The combination of these three preventive actions can help you keep plaque from forming on your teeth – this is a very sticky substances that make it easier for stains to cling to your tooth enamel. Smoking cigars, cigarettes, and using other tobacco products should also be avoided for many health-related reasons, let alone the whiteness of your teeth. Also be sure to have your teeth cleaned regularly by a dental professional, usually twice a year.

All of the above methods are great for keeping your smile shining bright, but if you’re still seeing stains then are some cosmetic whitening options such as bleaching that you may want to consider. Whether you want to take the next step towards the smile you always knew you could have, or if you’re just looking for a routine cleaning then don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the professionals at Union Dental Services in Coral Springs, Florida, today!

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