Does Creamer Lighten Your Coffee Enough to Avoid Stains?
Posted on 12/21/2020 by Dr. Jae Seon Kim
You may already know that coffee, along with sodas, some wines, and some juices, can stain your teeth. If you can't get going in the morning without your daily cup of Joe, though, you may think you have found a loophole: add enough creamer to your coffee to lighten its color. Surely lighter-colored coffee won't stain your teeth as much, right? While it's a good idea, unfortunately it's not true.
What Causes Stains from Coffee?
When you drink coffee, the color of the liquid isn't what actually stains your teeth. Instead, the discoloration is caused by tannins. You may not have heard about these organic substances before. Tannins are usually found in plants, but they are also in tea, wine, and coffee. There are also synthetic tannins that may be added to some drinks. Some drinks contain more tannins than others. Black tea, for example, is much higher in tannins than other types of tea. It even has more tannins than coffee, although coffee itself has a lot of these substances. When you drink a beverage with tannins, these tannins work hand-in-hand with another group of substances called chromogens. Chromogens are compounds that are very rich in pigments. When these substances stick to your teeth, those pigments rub off on the enamel, staining it. Tannins help the chromogens stick to your teeth.
Why Doesn't Creamer Help?
Creamer may change the color of your coffee, but it doesn't do anything to directly affect the tannins or the chromogens. Both of these substances are still present in the same quantities regardless of how much creamer you use. If you like creamer in your coffee, use it. If you don't, adding it won't benefit your teeth any, so take your coffee black if that's what you prefer. If your teeth are stained, the best way of dealing with that is to come see us. Our professional whitening tools will restore your smile, but you need to lay off the coffee if you want to keep it. Call us today to learn more about tooth whitening.