Theoretically, it makes sense to brush your teeth after coffee to fight stains and get rid of the scary breath of coffee. But, according to dentists, this is not a good idea because it can damage your teeth.
Below, the dentist Dr. Sharon Huang, DDS, of Les Belles NYCA Manhattan-run, women-run dental clinic shares details such as how long you should brush your teeth after drinking coffee, how to freshen your mouth while you wait, and general best oral health practices for coffee drinkers.
Why you should not brush your teeth immediately after consuming coffee
“High-acid foods and beverages – coffee is one of them – desalinate your teeth or soften your tooth enamel,” explains Dr. Huang. “Doing anything with your teeth right after [such as ] Brushing or flossing while the enamel is soft can damage the teeth, causing tenderness or weak spots that can lead to tooth decay.
This only applies to brushing your teeth immediately after you finish your coffee. You can even brush your teeth. Dr. Huang advises you to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour. “After the 30-minute limit, your enamel has hardened again and will not be removed by brushing,” he says.
If even that is too long to deal with coffee breathing, Dr. Huang says you can rinse your mouth immediately after drinking coffee with water at room temperature to refresh yourself. He also suggests chewing sugar-free chewing gum during those 30 minutes after drinking coffee (or any other acidic food or drink for that matter) to increase saliva flow in the mouth and flush the acid. Using a non-alcoholic mouthwash will also do the trick.
With all this in mind, the Ideal time to brush your teeth is after waking up and before drinking your cup of java breakfast. The reason? Dr. Huang says that coffee can stain plaque on your teeth, making them look darker. Brushing before drinking coffee helps to get rid of plaque and bacteria that accumulate during the night.
How to keep your teeth well if you drink coffee
Maintain an oral health routine
According to Dr. Huang, the best oral care routine for everyone, but especially for those who drink coffee, consists of four basic steps that must be done daily and in the following order. First, start with the floss and then brush your teeth (do this step morning and night, ideally with an electric toothbrush). Next, Dr. Huang recommends using a tongue scraper to remove bacteria from the tongue. Finally, finish with an alcohol-free mouthwash.
“The most important items are flossing and brushing twice a day,” says Dr. Huang. “They are necessary to remove plaque and debris from your coffee or any beverage or food, as well as the natural accumulation of bacteria that occurs in all mouths.” Adding mouthwash to your oral care routine is also a great idea. “An oral solution can help further remove bacteria, plaque and debris, as well as keep your breath fresh.”
The religious application of this four-step oral hygiene routine not only keeps the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth low, it also means that there are fewer spots where coffee stains can attach. “Surface stains attach to bacteria on the surface before they pass into the deeper layers of the teeth to make deep spots,” says Dr. Huang.
Brush your teeth twice a year
For the prevention of stains and general oral health, professional brushing twice a year is also important. “Your dentist has powerful tools to remove superficial stains before they begin to migrate to the deeper layers of the teeth,” he says.
Use whitening toothpaste
Whitening toothpaste is another way to help fight stains and is a strategy recommended by Dr. Huang if your teeth can tolerate it without increased sensitivity. “I always recommend alternating a whitening toothpaste with a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to reduce sensitivity,” he says. Specifically, whitening toothpastes points to include Toothpaste David’s Natural Whitening, Wellnesse Whitening Toothpasteand Hello See Ya, Sensitivity Fluoride Toothpaste. It also suggests professional teeth whitening every year and use treatments with whitening strips for maintenance.
Try oil extraction
As a bonus step, Dr. Huang suggests coconut oil pulling, an Ayurvedic practice that can help keep teeth clean and white naturally. “Coconut oil contains vitamins A, D, E and K. [and] “It has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.” “It will help fight plaque and gingivitis.
To practice oil extraction, pour organic coconut oil into your mouth for 20 minutes a day. Fair warning: It may take some time to get used to. So if you are new to this practice, Dr. Huang recommends starting with five minutes a day and continuing for up to 20 minutes overtime.
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