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Dental Hygiene

Caffeinated drinks

01/31/2007

Question:

DO CAFFINATED DRINKS STAIN YOUR TEETH? WHY?

Answer:

Caffeine itself does not stain teeth.  However, the most common beverages that stain teeth i.e.. coffee, tea, dark soda often contain caffeine, and that's where the confusion occurs.  Each of these beverages are available in decaffeinated forms, but the staining potential of beverages with caffeine, or without caffeine remains the same.

The stain that occurs as a result of drinking coffee, tea, dark soda etc. is extrinsic or 'on' the tooth.  (Not 'in' the tooth)  Basically it attaches to plaque and discolors the plaque.  If the plaque is not completely brushed and flossed away within a 24 hour period, it begins to harden and becomes what is commonly known as tartar (calculus).  This tartar is porous and also absorbs stains from food products.  So when a dentist or hygienist clean your teeth, they remove the tartar and plaque thus removing the extrinsic stain. 

Thanks for your question!

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Response by:

Susan   Bauchmoyer, RDH, EFDA,  MS Susan Bauchmoyer, RDH, EFDA, MS
Associate Professor – Clinical, Clinic Director
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University