You don’t have to give up your morning coffee.

FIRST, why does coffee stain your teeth?

Enamel, the hard outer coating that protects the other layers of your teeth, is covered in microscopic gaps. When food and drink particles get stuck in those gaps, it forms an external stain on the outer layer of your tooth.

The longer the particles stay in the gaps, they start to affect other layers of the tooth. “The more you drink coffee and don’t do anything to remove it, the stain goes deeper and deeper,” said Dr Cory Rush. This is called an intrinsic stain, and it’s a lot harder to clean.

It’s not just coffee, dark tea and red wine that can stain your teeth, it’s also nature’s natural sweets—especially dark ones like blueberries, blackberries, and pomegranates. They might taste delicious and be good for you, but they can wreak havoc on the brightness of your tooth enamel. Think about when you get a berry stain on your clothing and how hard it is to get out, it can do the same thing to your teeth. Your best bet is to enjoy a bowl of fruit that contains more water like cantaloupe, oranges and watermelon.

SECOND, water + brushing should be your first plan of attack.

Rinse/swish your mouth with water straight after drinking your coffee and brush your teeth as soon as you can. We recommend having some mini disposable tooth brushes in your car, purse or desk for a quick and easy way to brush (Like these).

The primary cause of tooth stain is plaque accumulation, so brushing your teeth (even better with whitening toothpaste) and coming in to see Dr. Cory or Dr. Kyle Rush for regular cleanings are the best ways to prevent ugly coffee stains.

THIRD, don’t forget to floss! Seriously.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to floss as often as we recommend. But setting aside a few minutes a day—morning or night— can make a big impact on your oral health. It gets rid of plaque generally, and plaque attracts stains. Unfortunately, brushing alone doesn’t remove all the bacterial in your mouth. Whatever is left over could harden and turn into tartar, which can cause infections.



If you’re drinking a cold coffee drink, make sure you always use a straw. This will protect your teeth from direct contact with the coffee and prevent stains and sugar damage. The smaller the straw the better, hot or cold.


A splash of milk can make a real difference for your teeth. A study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that casein, the main protein in milk, can latch onto tannins in tea (bitter-tasting particles that leave residue on teeth) and prevent staining. In fact, Ava Chow, the lead researcher in this study, says it may work even better than whitening toothpaste. Coffee also has small amounts of tannins, so coffee drinkers can reap these dairy benefits too. For the best results, use high fat animal milk; soy milk won’t do the job.


Let’s say you and your coworker both grab cups of coffee when you get into the office. You drink your whole cup in five minutes, but your coworker takes her time and finishes the same amount of coffee in two hours. Lucky for you, your teeth will be the less-stained ones. Since your coworker exposed her teeth to the coffee for a longer period of time, hers will be more stained. Wash even more particles away by following that quick cup with a glass of water. Just don’t burn yourself.


Toothbrushes and floss can’t get all the plaque, which is why coming in for a cleaning every six months helps prevent cavities and other threatening bacterias on your teeth.