Whitening your teeth is a big confidence booster. Whether you’re flashing it around the office or heading out on a first date, your smile is often a significant part of making your first impression.
However, you will need to take a few precautions after the teeth-whitening procedure to avoid disrupting the process of achieving those pearly whites. But how long after teeth whitening can you drink coffee?
Most dental experts advise waiting at least two days before drinking coffee or other beverages that can easily stain your teeth.
Opt for water and milk instead and keep sugar consumption low to reduce the likelihood of your new whitened teeth getting stained again.
Why Does Coffee Stain Teeth?
Coffee beans contain tannins that stick to your teeth and cause them to stain. Tannins are a polyphenol that becomes more prominent when mixed with water.
While they are beneficial for removing bacteria from your body and act as anti-carcinogenic agents, they can do a number on your teeth, significantly depending on how much coffee you drink daily.
Chlorogenic acid influences the robust taste of coffee. Whether it’s sweet or sour or if it tastes good or bad, chlorogenic acid plays a huge role in the overall taste of the quintessential beverage.
The sour taste from a coffee being over-brewed is noted on the taste buds because of the chlorogenic acid.
Mixing sugar with your coffee can worsen the staining because tannins attract natural sugars to your teeth that discolor them.
They also attract proteins, bacterial cell membranes, carbs, and natural enzymes inside your mouth that help the tannins to stick to your teeth in the form of yellow or brown discoloration.
What Happens if I Drink Coffee Before Two Days Are Up?
If you drink coffee before the two days are up post teeth whitening, you will likely begin to notice stains on your pearly whites.
Even if you drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after drinking coffee, your teeth will not be as white.
We know how it feels to want a coffee fix and not have it. As an alternative, drink green tea to get the same caffeine fix without the staining effects.
What Other Foods Stain Teeth?
Besides coffee, you should steer clear of other foods that can stain your teeth during the two-day grace period.
It would be best if you abstained from stain-producing food and drinks. Here are the different foods and beverages to avoid staining your teeth.
Any type of vinegar is naturally acidic. We know you love balsamic vinegar on your subs or salads, but take a break from it after whitening your teeth.
It is already dark in color and combined with its acidity. You will see more stains on your teeth the more you consume it.
Dark berries such as cherries, blackberries, pomegranates, and blueberries are more bound to stain your teeth than lighter-colored fruits like white or red grapes.
While grapes are a great alternative to abstaining from dark berries, they can wear the enamel off your teeth if consumed too much.
Black and earl gray tea are dark-colored teas that can stain your teeth. Lighter-colored alternatives such as green tea can give you the same caffeine boost as coffee and other teas without causing your teeth to be yellow.
Sports drinks have food dyes that give them their vibrant colors of pinks, greens, blues, oranges, purples, and more.
For example, Gatorade utilizes Allura red or Red Dye 40 to give their red sports drinks color.
Red wine is dark and contains acid, which can stain your teeth. Its acidic makeup breaks down the enamel on your teeth, which invites more stains to stay on your teeth after drinking it or another stain-causing food or beverage.
How Many Cups of Coffee per Day Can Stain Teeth?
Believe it or not, it only takes one cup of coffee daily to stain your teeth. It is difficult to tell precisely how many tannins are in a cup of coffee responsible for staining your teeth.
In one scientific study, researchers found that a cup of coffee has about 4.6% tannins, while teas have almost triple the tannins at 11.2%.
Of course, the more coffee you drink daily, your teeth will be stained. Statistics show that about 150 million Americans drink coffee, which leads to the success of coffee chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Wawa, Starbucks, and others.
How To Reduce the Presence of Tannins in Coffee
Fewer tannins mean there is not as much tooth staining as can happen in your mouth. Altering how much tannins are in your coffee can be done by revising brewing methods and the type of coffee you drink.
Rather than a warm brew, try a cold brew. Cold brews extract fewer tannins from the coffee beans because there is no heat compared to the many tannins extracted from a warm brew.
If you are a dark roast coffee lover, try light or medium roast, as they do not have as many tannins.
Opt for brewing your coffee with an Aeropress instead of a French press so that the coffee bean is less extracted and has fewer tannins in the final brew’s composition.
Coffee with more oxidation in it means there are more tannins. Drink freshly roasted coffee for fewer tannins.
Over-roasted coffee, or if it is not fresh, can mean higher tannins and not as good of a taste as freshly roasted.
Tips for Drinking Coffee After Waiting the Two Days
Coffee naturally stains teeth, even whitened ones, because of its tannins. Hence, it would be best to take certain precautions when drinking coffee post-teeth whitening after waiting 48 hours.
Here are some tips for drinking coffee after the two-day grace period:
- Drink iced coffee through a straw so it does not come in contact with your teeth as much.
- You can do the same with hot coffee if this is your preference.
- Add cream to reduce the dark color of the coffee.
- Brush your teeth right after drinking coffee.
- If you do not have access to a toothbrush, rinse your mouth out with water. Follow up by drinking a bottle or two of water to cleanse your mouth of the remaining tannins on your teeth.
- When you brush your teeth, use whitening toothpaste.
- Keep brushing your teeth at least twice a day with flossing and mouthwash.
- If you have gum disease, you should brush your teeth after every meal, including after each time you drink coffee.
What Foods Whiten Teeth?
As you wait for the two days to pass before you can drink coffee again, what foods and drinks can you consume that will not stain your teeth?
Listerine weighs in on the topic and states that fruits and vegetables such as cauliflower, apples, strawberries, and celery are great natural whitening agents.
Incorporate these into your diet for the two-day grace period and, generally, keep your teeth shiny and bright.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, which must mean the dentist, too! The crunchy nature of the apple keeps your teeth strong and white because of how much saliva is needed while chewing it to start digestion.
The extra saliva will cleanse off the sugars and stains from your teeth, even the natural sugars from the apple itself. Cut up an apple and enjoy it with cheese cubes, crackers, and grapes for a healthy snack, or it can even act as a light lunch.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and others. This vegetable takes a while to chew and break down in your mouth.
Especially if you eat raw cauliflower mixed in a salad, your mouth will produce an overabundance of saliva that will act as a natural tooth cleanser. Consider serving up some cauliflower rice with baked chicken or a delicious beef stir fry with sliced cauliflower.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that celery is a low-calorie vegetable with two medium stalks and only ten calories. The amount of crunching that you have to do to chew and digest celery burns calories in itself.
Celery is mainly made up of water, which naturally cleanses your teeth like drinking water. Plus, its dietary fiber can make you feel fuller longer, which is why celery makes a great snack!
Cheese and Milk
Milk and cheese contain calcium. Calcium fortifies your enamel to ward off gum disease while enhancing the whiteness of your teeth.
You should consume about 1,000 mg of calcium daily for pearly whites and general bone health. Older men in their 70s and women in their 50s should consume an extra 200 mg of calcium per day beyond the daily recommended intake for adults.
While strawberries are a type of berry, they will not stain your teeth. They have malic acid in them, which is a natural teeth-whitening agent.
Plus, the fruit is high in vitamin C. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that 100 g (or one cup) of strawberries contain about 58.8 mg of Vitamin C.
Nutritionists recommend that women intake at least 75 mg of Vitamin C daily while men intake at least 90 mg. Pregnant women should increase their Vitamin C intake to at least 120 mg daily.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you can have more throughout the day. However, the upper limit is 2,000 mg for Vitamin C intake.
The Benefits of Vitamin C for Teeth Whitening
One scientific study conducted in 2007 showed the benefits of Vitamin C for teeth whitening. They evaluated study participants who have periodontitis and their vitamin intake.
Scientists discovered that people with periodontitis have discolored teeth partially because of a lack of Vitamin C in their diets, making this gum disease worse for those who already have it.
Hence, keeping up with daily Vitamin C intake can restore some whiteness to teeth. Besides a cup of strawberries, other Vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, broccoli, and peppers can help you get the crucial vitamin in your daily food intake.
Teeth-Brushing Habits To Reduce Staining
Dental hygiene enhances because of your daily self-care habits. Follow these steps at least two to three times per day to brush your teeth and reduce staining:
- Use a manual or battery-powered toothbrush to clean your teeth. Set a timer for two minutes for a good and thorough clean.
- Follow up with a tongue scrubber to reduce the bacteria in your mouth.
- Floss your teeth with standard floss. Use floss picks to get the rest of the food particles out from between your teeth.
- Swish with fluoride-based mouthwash to remove the rest of the plaque.
- Do not rinse your mouth with water right after, or it will reverse the effects of the mouthwash.
- Do not eat or drink again for at least a half hour after brushing your teeth.
Other Tips for Dental Care After Teeth Whitening
Besides brushing your teeth two to three times a day after meals and drinking coffee, here are some other tips for general dental care after you professionally whiten your teeth:
- Carry a travel toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, and a travel pack of dental floss or floss picks to brush your teeth.
- Have them on hand to practice your dental hygiene routine while running errands or on a break during your work shift.
- Have a cut-off time that you stop eating food. Once you brush your teeth for the night, only drink water until the morning, so you do not have to brush them again after fetching a midnight snack.
If your teeth are professionally whitened, you should wait 48 hours before consuming coffee or another stain-producing food or beverage.
Let the whitening agent set in your teeth for longer-lasting effects before indulging in your favorite java fix.
Take precautions by brushing your teeth or washing your mouth with water after having a cup of coffee.
Use whitening toothpaste and maintain a regular dental hygiene routine to prevent stains on your teeth.