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Coffee Stains Worse Than Tobacco

Did you know?

Coffee stains your teeth even worse than tobacco!

Although both coffee and tobacco create considerable tooth discoloration, tobacco stains are more easily removed by processes such as brushing, whitening toothpaste, and professional bleaching. Coffee stains, however, are not as easily removed, and are also quite likely to come back, even after professional attention.

This finding comes from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association. Researchers soaked cows’ teeth in coffee and exposed them to cigarette smoke in order to darken them to the same level of discoloration. When brushed, only the smoke-stained teeth, not the coffee-stained teeth, were lightened.

Next, the researchers decided to rest the effects of brushing and bleaching in combination. They flattened and polished the surfaces of the cows’ teeth with sandpaper and sealed the dentin adjacent to the exposed enamel with a resin-based composite to prevent the diffusion of staining agents (coffee and tobacco) into the dentin.

The teeth were then split into two groups, one exposed to coffee, and one to tobacco smoke. They then measured the change in color of each group, before splitting them again into subgroups. One subset of each group was brushed with a tooth-brushing machine, while the other was soaked in a bleaching solution.

The researchers found that the coffee-stained, untreated teeth were darkened by about 19 units, whereas the cigarette smoke–stained teeth were darkened about 25 units — a very significant difference.

They also found that bleaching the cigarette-stained teeth restored them to a much lighter color than the coffee-stained teeth. And after another round of staining, bleaching, and brushing, discovered that the coffee stained teeth did not respond as well to the treatment as the tobacco stained teeth once again, leaving coffee-stained teeth considerably darker.

The researchers believe that coffee penetrates the enamel deeper and more thoroughly than tobacco stains, which tend to stay more on the surface, and are therefore easier to remove. This tells us that if you are a coffee drinker, bleaching, which is more effective on deeply embedded stains, will be far more effective at removing discoloration than simple brushing alone.

If you are interested in professional or take-home bleaching and whitening solutions, Ann Arbor dental office of Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre is happy to help! Give us a call at 734-677-2156 for more information or to schedule your appointment for whitening today.


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