A cup of coffee -- or two or three -- is an essential part of the morning for many people. And now that coffee is considered a superfood for its many health benefits, we can consume it (almost) guilt-free. The "almost" is that nagging feeling you have about what it's doing to your pearly white teeth. Guess what? In addition to making you more alert and lowering your risk of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, early evidence shows that coffee may be beneficial for your teeth by preventing bone loss in the jaw, while green coffee has antibacterial properties that may help protect the gums. But what about coffee stains on your teeth? Coffee not only can discolor the protective tooth enamel, but also can stain resins, which are tooth-colored materials used to fill cavities and replace chipped teeth. Rather than being smooth, enamel has tiny holes and ridges that coffee (and other dark drinks or foods, such as red wine) can settle into, which causes staining. Three tips to prevent coffee stains on your teeth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry:

1. Sip coffee through a straw.
while typically associated with cold coffee drinks, using a straw to drink hot coffee will reduce the amount that touches your teeth.

2. Rinse with water.
Drinking or rinsing with water after enjoying your coffee can reduce the risk of staining.

3. Wait a half-hour to brush your teeth.
Evidence shows that coffee and other acidic beverages soften tooth enamel, and brushing your teeth right away can damage the enamel and dentin underneath it. But the effect is temporary. Enamel will start to harden within a half hour of being subjected to acids, so it's best to wait 30 minutes after drinking coffee, wine, lemonade or other acidic drinks before brushing your teeth.


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