For many, coffee has a lot of benefits – from boosting energy to simply being enjoyable to drink. But a side effect is that it can stain your teeth. So what does this mean if you’ve been fitted with braces? Can you drink coffee with braces? Here are some best things to look out for.
Coffee. That delicious, comforting morning elixir that fuels the day. At least my day, anyway. Let’s face it. For coffee lovers, it can be hard to live without.
It can help keep you alert. It may provide even a host of health benefits, from reducing the risk of diabetes to helping prevent cardiovascular disease. But it can also take a toll on your teeth. That’s no different if you’re wearing braces.
The good news is, you can drink coffee with braces. Orthodontists say you just need to follow a few guidelines to limit staining and discomfort.
What does coffee do to braces?
The biggest issue with coffee if you have braces is the potential for staining.
Tannins in coffee can adhere to them — and to your teeth — and cause discoloration. In addition to coffee, other beverages like red wine and tea also have tannins and cause similar staining.
Additionally, dark sodas, sports drinks, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks can discolor your braces and teeth due to the dyes used in them (plus, they can result in tooth decay).
But the type of braces you have plays a part in how coffee and other drinks may affect them.
How can I drink coffee with braces?
Let’s start with traditional braces. These are the ones made from metal or ceramic.
If you have ceramic braces, you have the least to worry about when it comes to coffee. That’s because the ceramic material is designed to prevent stains and discoloration.
However, coffee can stain the brackets and rubber bands of metal braces if you drink it on a regular basis.
Tips to limit staining with metal braces
Brush and rinse. It’s a good idea to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash right after drinking coffee. The same goes for those other dark-colored beverages as well.
Use a straw. If you do drink coffee with braces on, the best way to reduce staining may be to use a straw whenever possible. This will limit contact between the coffee and your braces.
Add milk. A study a few years ago found that a protein in milk called casein can adhere to tannins in tea and help prevent them from staining teeth. Since tannins are also found in coffee, this suggests that adding some plain milk to your coffee could limit staining to your braces as well.
Limit your coffee consumption. You don’t need to stop drinking cold turkey, but you may consider reducing your coffee intake. Cutting back on the amount of coffee and other staining-potential drinks can cut your risk of developing eventual discoloration on your braces.
A myth about coffee stains and braces
Contrary to what you may have read, drinking decaf coffee or coffee with lower caffeine levels will not affect whether your braces become stained or not.
It’s the tannins in coffee that contribute to staining, not the amount of caffeine. So while switching to decaf for your morning coffee can help make you less jittery, it won’t help prevent staining.
Can you drink coffee with Invisalign?
Invisalign are clear plastic teeth aligners that are meant to straighten teeth without the look of braces, which some find unattractive.
While they’re different from traditional metal braces or ceramic ones, there are some potential risks to drinking coffee when wearing them.
Since Invisalign aligners are made from plastic, hot beverages like very hot coffee could damage the trays themselves by warping them. This could reduce the effectiveness of the custom-fit aligners.
And because they’re supposed to be invisible when wearing, the potential staining that regular coffee can do to the clear aligners can also become an issue.
To help prevent these issues, dentists say your best option is to remove the Invisalign trays before you drink that hot cup of coffee. And in the case of staining, do the same before drinking red wine, tea, dark soft drinks, and iced coffee.
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, using a straw may help limit any discoloration to these clear braces as well.
While drinking coffee can stain both traditional braces and Invisalign aligner trays, taking some easy steps like using a straw or simply cutting back on coffee can limit any potential discoloration.
In addition, reducing your intake of coffee — and other types of drinks that can negatively affect braces and teeth — can ultimately contribute to lasting oral health and a healthy smile.
More coffee-related answers
Get more answers to your food and drink-related questions. Check out these posts.
Leave a Reply