Is Coffee Bad For Your Teeth?

Are you one of the many Americans who need a cup of coffee to start the day? Coffee seems to be an absolute need for some of us to actually wake up. But, is coffee bad for your teeth? Or, is this delicious morning boost doing damage to your oral health?

What Does Coffee Do To Your Teeth?

There’s a simple rule to every drink: if it stains your clothes, it stains your teeth. The same goes for coffee. Even one cup a day can stain your teeth. And staining is one of the main reasons why coffee is bad for your teeth.

Coffee contains tannins. These ingredients are a type of polyphenol. They break down in water and make color compounds stick to your teeth. So, the tannins in coffee cause that yellow hue on your teeth that’s difficult to remove.

Does Coffee Damage Your Teeth?

Coffee stains your teeth. But, does it do any other damage? Is coffee bad for your teeth in general? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. However, whatever damage coffee causes is easily reversible.

Coffee is an acidic drink. This means that it damages your teeth by eating away the enamel. The enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth. It’s a hard substance, but not indestructible. So, coffee and tooth enamel don’t mix well together.

Coffee also damages your teeth the same way any other food does. Especially if you take your coffee with sugar. The food particles stick to the pits and crevices of your teeth, and feed the bacteria in your mouth.

This bacteria is the culprit behind cavities and gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can result in lost teeth and even strokes and heart disease. In short, coffee contributes to much more than simple staining when it comes to your oral health. Luckily, both the staining and the bacteria are easy problems to fix.

Can I Drink Coffee Without Staining My Teeth? 

Coffee lovers rejoice! There’s still a way to have your daily Cup of Joe and have a pearly white smile. Using simple tricks can help prevent and diminish the staining to your teeth when you drink coffee regularly.

8 Tricks to Prevent Coffee From Staining Your Teeth

1. Limit How Much Coffee You Drink

If you’re a 3-cups-a-day kind of person, but you’re worried about how coffee stains your teeth, it may be worth limiting yourself to just one. Besides, the recommended coffee intake is just 2 cups/day.

2. Drink Coffee With Milk

Black coffee stains your teeth more. Diluting it with milk can diminish the staining effects of coffee. But if you drink coffee with milk and sugar too, you’ll create a different way how coffee can damage your teeth.

3. Use an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes are more effective than regular toothbrushes when it comes to removing coffee stains. If you use a manual toothbrush but you love your daily coffee, it may be worth investing in a different toothbrush.

4. Munch on Crunchy Fruit and Vegetables

Apples, celery, and carrots are natural stain removers. They activate the saliva production in your mouth that helps wash away the tannins of coffee.

5. Drink Coffee With a Straw

Drinking iced coffee with a straw is usual. But, you can drink hot coffee with a straw to diminish the staining effects it has on your teeth. Just be careful. Sipping steaming hot coffee with a straw can cause serious burns.

6. Drink in One Sitting

Sipping coffee throughout the day, even if it’s just one cup, helps bacteria build up. Whereas drinking your cup faster in one sitting minimizes it. 

7. Eat Something Before Your Coffee

Eating a bite or two with your coffee can brace your teeth from the staining tannins. This way the food and the saliva you produce create a buffer between the coffee and your teeth. Besides, even the French drink their coffee with a croissant

8. Brush Your Teeth Right After Drinking Coffee

Although it seems strange, if you truly want to prevent the damages of coffee, you should brush right after you drink it. That’s the most effective way to minimize how bad coffee is for your teeth.

How to Remove Coffee Stains From Your Teeth

Even if you drink coffee with a straw and eat a carrot right after, there’s still a chance that coffee will stain your teeth. And if you do none of the preventive measures, you’re almost guaranteeing that yellow hue on your teeth.

The only way to remove coffee stains from your teeth is to use teeth whitening solutions. These can range from cheap home remedies to effective professional whitening. Here are the most popular ways to whiten your teeth 

Brush Your Teeth With Baking Soda

Twice a month, sprinkle some baking soda (soda bicarbonate) on your toothbrush. This will help remove any color compounds and tannins stuck to your teeth. 

But, be careful with how roughly you brush.

The hard crystals of baking soda can also damage your enamel. And that can do more harm than good. So, be sure to brush gently. Plus, you should only do this twice a month at most.

Use Whitening Toothpaste

Some toothpastes are specifically designed to remove coffee stains. The whitening effects of these could reverse the damage coffee has done to your teeth.

Teeth Whitening Strips Help Reduce Coffee Stains

If baking soda and whitening toothpaste didn’t bring the desired results, you can invest in teeth whitening strips. These are a little bit more aggressive in whitening your teeth. 

However, you need to be careful with the brand and the ingredients of these strips. Cheap teeth whitening strips can damage your enamel even further.

Professional Teeth Whitening Procedures Are the Most Effective

The most reliable way to whiten your teeth is to have a dentist do it. They know how to protect your teeth while restoring their pearly whiteness.

The effects of a professional dental whitening also last longer. While the yellow staining does return if you keep drinking coffee, regular teeth whitening can eliminate this problem best.

Other Drinks That Cause Stains to Your Teeth

Coffee isn’t the only drink that stains your teeth. Apart from water, every drink causes an acidic reaction in your mouth. Though it’s not something you notice, it definitely weakens your enamel. The following drinks also include tannins, that stain your teeth:

  • Red wine
  • Black tea
  • Colas
  • Berry juices (blueberry, blackberry, cherry)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Sports drinks

Keep the Coffee, But Visit the Dentist

Coffee is bad for your teeth. Unfortunately, coffee stains your teeth and eats away the enamel. Yet, many of us still wouldn’t give it up. If you decide to keep drinking coffee daily, you should consider visiting a dentist for a tooth whitening. 

The dentist is the only one that can check how much damage the coffee has done to your teeth. Luckily, oral examinations with the dentist don’t cost that much if you have a Carefree Dental Card.

The Carefree Dental discount plan can unlock huge savings on dental procedures at participating dentists. You can save between 15%-50%* off your bill per visit in most instances. 

Ready to save BIG at the dentist? Learn more when you sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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10 Quick Ways Get Rid of Onion Breath

As healthy and as yummy as onions are, they certainly don’t smell good. And once you eat some onions, getting rid of the smell can be pretty difficult. Luckily, there are a couple of ways you can eat onions and still have a fresh breath. Here are 10 quick, natural, and effective ways to get rid of onion breath.

What Causes Onion Breath?

Onions contain sulfur compounds. These chemicals are responsible for the distinctive taste and smell of onions. However, there are two ways onions can give you onion breath. 

Onion breath in your mouth happens when you chew the onion. The sulphuric compounds mix with the bacteria in your mouth. That’s why you can smell the onion in your breath after eating. 

But why is onion breath still an issue even after you’ve already eaten? When you’re digesting onions, the sulphuric compounds also get absorbed into your bloodstream. They find their way to the lungs which then releases a foul odor every time you exhale.

10 Tips to Get Rid of Onion Breath

Whether you have a date or a business meeting coming up, you’ll want to get rid of onion breath. A fresh breath can give you a good impression and boost your confidence. These 10 tips can get you smelling like a million bucks after you’ve eaten onions.

1. Drink Green Tea

Drink green tea with honey several times a day. Green tea is rich in polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that can kill the sulfurous compounds present in raw onions.

2. Lemons Work Against Onion Breath

Rinse your mouth with lemon water two to three times a day. A tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of water can help neutralize onion breath. The citric acid in the lemon contains antibacterial properties that can kill bacteria that cause bad breath. 

Just be careful not to let the citric acid sit on the teeth. Its high acidity can contribute to enamel erosion and tooth decay.

3. Mustard Sauce is Surprisingly Effective Against Onion Breath

Swish around mustard sauce in the mouth for a minute. This method won't kill the odorous molecules of the onion. However, the mustard sauce has a strong aroma that can help mask the onion smell. 

4. Chew on Some Cardamom

Cardamom is a delicious Indian spice with a lot of health benefits. But a surprising quality of cardamom is its ability to get rid of onion breath. If you like the taste of the spice but not the smell of onions, it’s worth a try.

Chew cardamom after eating onions. Its strong aroma will help mask the onion odor and freshen your breath.

5. An Apple a Day Keeps the Onion Breath Away

Apples are one of the most versatile fruits on the planet. They’re just delicious. Plus, they have countless uses and benefits. One of these uses is to get rid of onion breath quickly. 

Eating an apple is one of the most effective methods to get rid of onion breath. That’s because the natural enzymes in the apple break down the onion's sulfur compounds.

6. Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Rinse your mouth with apple cider vinegar and water. This helps to neutralize onion breath. And it destroys bad-breath-causing bacteria in the mouth.

7. Rinse Your Mouth with Baking Soda

Rinse your mouth with baking soda in water. This method neutralizes the onion smell, maintains the pH of your saliva, and controls the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

8. Drink Some Milk

Drink milk. When you drink milk, the sulfur in the onion is neutralized by the milk's fat content. Milk also acts as a natural mouth rinse.

9. Mints, Peppermints, and Breath Mints

If you’re looking for a minty fresh breath, you need mint. The mint contains chlorophyll which helps to freshen your breath while masking the onion odor. It also has mild antiseptic properties that fight against bad breath caused by bacteria.

You can find peppermint flavored chewing gum and spearmint flavored breath mints everywhere you go. Just make sure you get the sugar-free kind because the sugar in chewing gum damages your teeth.

You can also get your hands on some natural mint. Drink mint with water or chew on mint leaves to get rid of onion breath.

10. Brush Your Teeth

If all else fails, brush your teeth with plenty of toothpaste. Regularly cleaning your teeth is crucial for proper dental health. But. it’s also a great way to freshen up your breath.

Other Foods That Cause Bad Breath

While onion breath is certainly not pleasant, there are a couple of other healthy foods that cause bad breath too. Watch out for these in your diet before an important event:

  • Garlic: The garlic odor can be very strong. The best way to get rid of it is by utilizing plant chemicals like chlorophyll and polyphenols to bind to sulfur compounds in garlic. Eat herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, cilantro, mint, or dill to get rid of garlic breath.
  • Strong cheeses: There’s nothing classier than a nicely arranged cheese board. But, the smell of cheeses like Stilton, Roquefort, or Camembert can linger in your breath. Eating vegetables, using mouthwash, or gargling with saltwater are the best ways to get rid of cheese breath.
  • Horseradish: This member of the mustard family is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. Despite its benefits, cut or chewed horseradish releases mustard oil, which comes with a really bad smell. Gargle with saltwater or use mouthwash to get rid of it quickly.
  • Kombucha: This fermented drink is a popular superfood with a lot of amazing benefits. But, this vinegary drink doesn’t smell good at all. Drinking some green tea or chewing herbs will eliminate the bad breath caused by kombucha.

Could Your Bad Breath Be a Dental Issue?

Eating onions isn’t the only reason you may have bad breath. It can be a sign of a serious dental problem. Bad breath can be a symptom of gum disease, tooth decay, or an infection. If the smell of your breath doesn’t go away with these tricks, you need a dentist to examine you.

A trip to the dentist can cost a lot of money. Even a simple checkup can cost you more than you expect. But, if your bad breath could be a life-threatening condition, there’s no time to waste.

To save your teeth and your wallet from worries, sign up for a Carefree Dental Card.

Carefree Dental offers an instant discount at participating dental practices. All you have to do is sign up for a Carefree Dental Card, show it to the participating dentist, and save your money! 


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed doctor or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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