What’s In Your Coffee?

I went to the dentist recently.  I dreaded the visit because the last time I went the hygienist pointed out the staining on my teeth and made me feel substandard in the tooth brushing category. I convinced myself it was her issue, not mine, but also changed my entire tooth brushing regimen to avoid another wretched scraping at the next scheduled visit.

I assumed that my daily black coffee was the culprit. I bought a battery operated toothbrush and used it after my morning coffee. I even started putting cream in the coffee to lighten the color. I avoided coffee after brushing. At night, I brushed, flossed, used mouthwash etc. I was stringent in this routine until, oh, about 3.5 weeks later when I began missing some of the evening sessions.

I’m sorry to report that my teeth were just as badly stained at the most recent visit as they were at the previous. I felt bad. No one likes to be the problem patient. Not only did the hygienist again run through the process of normal hygiene as though I were a less than bright 5-year-old who has never brushed her teeth, she also brought the dentist in to corroborate her opinion. The dentist agreed that I “really did have an abnormal amount of staining” and, again, we went over all the things I could do to prevent it and, again, I got the feeling that they did not believe I was as dedicated to oral hygiene as I claimed. But I am. I would even venture that I am better than most at maintaining good oral hygiene. Except for those nights, several times a week when I was just too tired to bother, I am a stellar caretaker of my teeth. Everyone skips nights, right? Plus, I floss EVERY single day. I really do. Except weekends sometimes. But otherwise, I’m totally dedicated to flossing.

Once again, I left the dentist’s office offended and determined. Nobody is going to call me “abnormally stained” and get away with it. I’ll show them.

I bought the Jaguar of electric toothbrushes, which I named Kennedy, because I want teeth like the Kennedys; bright, white and big enough to eat you with. I bought two kinds of toothpaste…the Sensodyne I require and the Arm & Hammer the dentist recommended for it’s gritty stain-fighting potential. I bought two kinds of mouthwash, one for whitening and one for sensitivity. Thanks to the hygienist, who sent me home with extra samples, I now have three different kinds of flossing materials. I have not missed a morning nor a night. It’s a good thing, too, because do you know what the hygienist told me? White wine can also leave a film that can result in staining. It would have been nice if she had mentioned that the last time I was there. My wine habit is equal to my coffee habit. The black coffee was unfairly demonized and now I have stained teeth AND a cream habit that might lessen staining but has done nothing for my waistline. This is unfortunate because I have a physical next week. I’m pretty sure I’ve gained seven pounds since the last one, rather than losing the seven pounds the doctor and I agreed I should.

Maybe I could blame my hearing.

“Ohhhh, you said LOSE seven pounds? I thought you said I could USE seven pounds.”

Chicken out


  14 comments for “What’s In Your Coffee?

  1. April 24, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Personally, I find little can be done to satisfy any segment of the medical profession.Hygienists are the worst! I’ve even remarked, caustically, “I suppose you prefer seventy five year old dentures!” and it does not stop the staining comments.


    • May 21, 2018 at 12:32 am

      Well thanks for that Joanne! I am glad to hear I’m not the only one. I need to develop a little more backbone. Not that it will help, apparently, but maybe it will make me feel better.


  2. jenny_o
    April 24, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    I think you need a new hygienist and a new dentist, both of whom will be less judgy. My teeth are far from my best feature, and it’s not for lack of care; it’s simply how my enamel is (i.e., thin and weak). My hygienist and dentist are wonderfully caring and never criticize, only encourage.

    I had to stop drinking coffee a few years back when I realized I was getting more and more sensitive to caffeine, and I’m glad, because it was making my teeth darker. And I don’t care for wine, so I rarely have it. I find it acidic and that’s hard on my enamel too. I think there’s a new rule around brushing, just while I’m handing out everything I know about enamel: acidic foods (including apples, oranges, etc.) weaken the enamel temporarily, so now we’re supposed to wait at least a half hour after finishing them before brushing. Otherwise we’re brushing more of the enamel away than usual. There. Advice from a professional. Professional patient, that is 🙂

    But then, maybe your enamel is as hard as a rock and everything I just said is useless. It wouldn’t be the first time – lol

    Aren’t electric toothbrushes wonderful? My hand used to get so sore just brushing my teeth . . . but no more. (Yes, I have weak hands, too, apparently!)


    • May 21, 2018 at 12:29 am

      Thanks for the tip about the acid, Jenny-I did not know that. I do feel like the new toothbrush is better than the old but I don’t like it. It creates too much foam, I don’t like the sound or the vibration. What can I say? I’m a dental whiner.


  3. Doug in Oakland
    April 24, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    I have a reckoning with the dentist in my future. I have at least found a dentist to have said reckoning with. He did all the work on Briana’s teeth and lets us pay it off a little at a time (read that $100 a month) and has already told her he will do the same for me.
    My teeth are a mess. I’m not looking forward to whatever he decides I must do to fix them, but it would be good to be able to eat one of the pears that grow on the tree in the back yard…


    • May 21, 2018 at 12:28 am

      Good luck, Doug. I hope it’s not as bad as you think I have heard that teeth have to be well maintained to prevent a host of other issues and, if that’s the case, why is it harder to get dental care than even health care, which is also hard?


  4. April 27, 2018 at 3:30 am

    I have had 6 cavities in 68 years, all before I was 18 years old and got to swearing at the government –mainly at the draft board. No more cavities! I still use this method even though the draft is inactive. Profanity burns the plaque off the backs of your teeth –places your toothbrush can’t reach. Swear in private if you have to but put some fire into it; it’s just good dentition!


  5. Lisa Southard
    April 29, 2018 at 6:49 am

    NEVER giving up coffee! Or putting cream in it. Black coffee, red wine – and when I smoked I preferred a cigar – I am enamoured by nature of teeth staining stuff. I use baking powder and coconut oil to clean my teeth – and have no fillings. When anyone, professional or otherwise, (unless under the age of five, they get a pass) asks what is wrong with my crazy teeth I tell them I can disembowel a grown man in 30 seconds, so, they are perfect. Sometimes this gets a laugh, mostly it discourages nagging 🙂


    • May 21, 2018 at 12:23 am

      ” i am enamoured by nature of teeth-staining stuff”. I loved this and I hear you, Sister. I can’t disembowel a worm, even, and my dentist is well aware. I’ll have to come up with a different plan!


  6. May 2, 2018 at 1:28 am

    Yeah, I’m going to keep drinking coffee and red wine.


    • May 21, 2018 at 12:24 am

      I tried to change. I really did. But the attraction to these things is just too strong. Now, I ‘m just trying to not feel guilty about it.


  7. September 15, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    I have heavily stained teeth, too, and brush twice a day with an electric toothbrush and floss once a day without fail. The main thing that was staining my teeth was dark chocolate, which I was eating every day as an antioxidant (90% dark chocolate), but have had to quit using due to the high oxalate content and my propensity for calcium oxalate stone formation. My teeth look a good deal better, but they’re still dingy.

    I’m down to 2 cups of green tea per day because of a genetic SNP that doesn’t allow my system to “detoxify” or metabolize caffeine properly. Ironically, at these low doses, the caffeine has a stronger wake-up effect on me and no unwanted side effects (a feeling of vascular congestion in my legs). The switch from coffee hasn’t made any noticeable improvement in my teeth.

    Take care. Keep blogging. 🙂


  8. October 4, 2018 at 2:04 am

    HEY MTM! It’s almost time for my next appointment and I think I’m going to ace it this time, I really do! Can you explain to me this “vascular congestion in my legs”? What does that feel like? My legs feel very heavy and tired sometimes. Is it like that? Caffeine causes it? I saw that you posted a video recently. I need to go back and watch.


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