Can I drink coffee after I whiten my teeth?

Can I drink coffee after I whiten my teeth?
Dr. David Kaffey Dentist Lansdale, Pennsylvania

Dr. David Kaffey is a Dentist practicing in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Dr. Kaffey specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic, and endodontic... more

You just came from a visit with Dr. Kaffey, and your teeth are gleaming from the Zoom® Whitening Treatment you just received. You have a hankering for a cup of coffee, but can you have it? It may seem like you have to avoid it altogether, but here’s what you can do to keep your teeth pearly white and consume what you want.

The effects of coffee

Your teeth have a substance on their surface called the enamel, which covers the outside of your teeth and protects them from decay. While the enamel may look like a smooth outer layer, it actually has grooves and ridges that can capture bits of the food and drink you consume. Foods and liquids that are dark, like coffee or tea, are especially culprits for yellow teeth because the pigments can stay in those ridges and cause staining.

Dr. Kaffey may tell you to avoid coffee for a short period of time after your treatment, but there are ways to avoid staining once that time is up.

Having your coffee and drinking it too

The ideal way to prevent your yellow teeth from returning is to avoid dark drinks altogether. However, this is obviously not feasible for any caffeine addict, so here are a few tips to keep those teeth white and have your morning cup.

  1. Use a Straw. With a straw, the drink can pass through your teeth without touching them, so your smile will stay as it was when you left the dentist. While this may seem a little silly, it’s a great solution if you can’t avoid that caffeine buzz. If you still aren’t sure about it, try iced tea or coffee, which come with a straw anyway, or have your coffee at home before you go to work.
  2. Drink Water. It can help to flush out the enamel, so the pigments won’t sit for the rest of the day. Whether you sip throughout the day, or drink it all in a few gulps, following with water as you go or between cups can help prevent “coffee teeth.”
  3. Brush Your Teeth. This seems like a no-brainer, right? Keeping up healthy brushing habits is always a good idea for healthy-looking teeth. Use a whitening toothpaste to help cut down those stains more. Also, try to drink your breakfast coffee and then brush your teeth last thing before you go out the door to keep the pigments from setting in. It also can’t hurt to have a portable brush and toothpaste with you for after that mid-day coffee break.
  4. Floss Your Teeth. A little known fact is that plaque attracts stains, so make sure you floss daily to get out the plaque in the places where your brush doesn’t reach, such as between your teeth. If you don’t floss, you can still end up with staining, even with regular brushing.
  5. Keep Up the Whitening. After your in-office whitening treatment, Dr. Kaffey will send you home with custom whitening trays to keep up the treatments at home. No matter what you eat or drink, you should continue this regimen every day for the best results.

The answer

So, the answer to the previous question is: Yes, you can have it, but only with proper dental care. Try these tips, and you can enjoy your favorite foods and drinks without worry of reversing your whitening treatment. If you are still unsure of how to care for your newly whitened teeth, talk to Dr. David M. Kaffey, DDS, an expert in teeth whitening and dental care who can help you to achieve your best smile.