Most of us need a strong cup of tea or coffee to kick-start our morning – and probably another cup or three to get us through the day.
Unfortunately, that cappuccino or English breakfast tea contains pigments which can embed themselves in the cracks and ridges of our enamel, causing staining.
Giving up our daily fix isn’t an option for the caffeine junkies amongst us, but there are ways to reduce its effects on our teeth – and ensure a healthy mouth.
1. Try herbal or green tea
We’re not suggesting you give up on your cup of builder’s tea completely, but it’s worth substituting it for green and herbal teas – which contain less staining tannin - from time to time.
Surprisingly, coffee actually contains less tannin than tea, so could actually be a kinder option for your teeth.
2. Brush teeth or drink water afterwards
If you can, give your teeth a brush after your brew. If that’s not an option (your colleagues might not appreciate you having a brush and spit in the office kitchen sink), at least aim to drink some water to help reduce the amount of tannin in your mouth.
3. Don’t sip it through the day
Try and drink your tea or coffee at set times instead of nursing a cup throughout the day – this will give you a chance to rinse out your mouth afterwards and minimise staining.
4. Use a whitening toothpaste
Choose a smooth paste, rather than a gritty one which could end up damaging your enamel. You could also try a whitening mouthwash.
5. Less is more
Don’t overload your toothbrush with toothpaste. Dr Nina Bal, dental surgeon and cosmetic dentist for E4 show Body Fixers, advises: “'Dry' cleaning has been proven to be more effective than using a lot of toothpaste, as the mechanical effective movement of removing plaque is dramatically reduced when we feel the mouth fresh using a toothpaste.”
6. Invest in an electric toothbrush
“Buy an electric toothbrush and use it for two minutes. It has been proven that it removes much more plaque and food debris than the manual one,” says Dr Nina. “Make sure you can use it at a low speed so it doesn't damage the gums. Top tip: a toothbrush head should be changed every three months.”
7. Eat smart
Believe it or not, apples can help whiten your smile. They contain malic acid, which is also found in whitening products. If you’re all out of Granny Smiths or Braeburns, try a crunchy, saliva-encouraging vegetable such as celery.