A Coffee-Lover’s Guide to Keeping Her Pearly Whites Sparkling

Here are a couple of things you probably don’t know about me…

  1. I have had 12 teeth pulled (4 babies, 4 biggies, and 4 wisdom teeth).

  2. I have had braces twice at 2 years a pop for a collective total of 4 years.

  3. One time, at my brother's hockey game, standing where I shouldn’t have been standing I took a puck to my mouth and my right front tooth died for a little while. Like, it actually went grey because all of the nerve endings in it were totally shocked. Eventually, it did come back to life, but there is still a slight color difference.

I'm proud of my smile. Not just because all my teeth are where they should be, but because there's a rather sordid (oral) history behind it — as far as teeth go.

So it should come as no surprise, then, that I take my dental hygiene seriously. I went through a lot of pain to get these chicklets straight, and I intend to take care of them. That said, I have a 2-a-day coffee habit, love myself an over-poured glass of red wine, and have been known to enjoy the odd skinny ciggy in foreign countries. This leaves me desperately trying to match my YOLO-mentality with an oral regimen my dentist would be proud of. It’s a delicate, delicate, balance.


1. It’s All About The Timing

According to dentists, the only thing worse than eating sugary foods is brushing your teeth immediately after eating them. Apparently, sugar has a real talent when it comes to weakening your enamel, BUT, if you brush too soon then essentially you’re just letting the sugar have its way with your enamel. Instead, what you should do is…

a) wait an hour after eating or

b) brush before you eat and just deal with that funky tasting OJ.


2. Ease up on the Kombucha

Have you ever looked inside your teapot or teacup to see the brown ring stains, and thought ew? Have you ever tried to wash those stains away and thought, WTF? Those stains do not lift easily. Kombucha is, in essence, fermented tea, so if you’re drinking a lot of it, that same thing that happens to the inside of your teapot or mug may just happen to your pearly whites.  

If you’re a kombucha connoisseur and unwilling to forgo the gut health benefits of your favorite fermented cocktail for your oral hygiene, then you should pay extra special attention to your teeth after consumption. Avoid staining by always swishing with water after your last sip of Ginger-ade.


3. Mouthwash With Caution

The ol’ swish of the mouthwash has long become a habit, but it isn’t as good for you as you may think. For instance, if you swish after brushing, you are rinsing away that protective layer of fluoride found in your toothpaste. If you swish on your way out the door in the morning but stop to grab a coffee on your way to the office — as we do — the coffee is more likely to stick to your teeth because mouthwash is ... well ... sticky.

If you must mouthwash, try to be cognizant of your timing. Questioning my logic? Don’t take it from me, take it from a real-life dentist — click for more information.  


4. You’re Probably Brushing Too Hard

I have a bad habit of brushing too hard, to the point of irritating my own gums. It’s like, I think the harder I brush the cleaner my teeth will be, which isn’t totally crazy logic … it’s just not the case when it comes to our teeth.

Two minutes, twice a day, and gently. That is what you should be doing. Anything that differs from this and you may be doing more harm to your teeth (read: brushing away the enamel) than you realize.

Instead of brushing (hard) after every meal, what you can do after lunch is chew on some sugar-free gum instead. This will stimulate your saliva, which is basically antibacterial and known to keep teeth white. 


5. Don’t Forget to Floss

This isn’t something you can get away with doing every once and awhile — like, just because you got ready a couple of minutes quicker than you expected. It isn’t an add-on or an extra measure. It is essential for keeping your teeth clean and bacteria-free. It is what prevents decay. It is the long-game.

Always play the long-game. Especially when it comes to your oral health.


*This is a collaborative post.
*Feature image via Instagram.