Coffee and cigarette smoke have ingredients with a high propensity for staining teeth. The only foolproof method to prevent those stains from ruining your smile is to abstain from smoking and drinking coffee entirely. Some dentist-recommended toothpastes can lighten teeth slightly and gradually, but if you continue smoking and drinking coffee, the benefits of whitening toothpastes will only be temporary. Tell your dentist if you have a coffee or smoking habit that concerns you, and ask for recommendations for teeth-whitening toothpastes.
Stains from drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes deposit on the outer layers of the teeth. The stains tend to become fixed over time, making them increasingly difficult to remove. Toothpastes intended to remove those stains often rely on abrasive ingredients to help lift them. Brushing with teeth-whitening toothpastes can help loosen and remove stains, but the abrasiveness can also damage tooth enamel.
The ingredients vary among toothpaste brands that claim to have whitening benefits. Some chemicals, such as blue covarine, are widely included in toothpastes to help make teeth appear whiter. But they may not actually reduce yellowing of the teeth and merely disguise stains. Only dental professionals can prescribe and provide whitening treatments that involve complex solutions to remove deep-seated stains.
Toothpastes that help to whiten teeth stained by drinking coffee or smoking contain abrasive ingredients intended to work, relatively, like they're scraping barnacles off of a boat. Even if you use a toothpaste containing abrasives and chemicals proven to be effective, it can take as long as six weeks to see any noticeable relief from stains. Baking soda -- which people consume safely in baked goods -- is a featured ingredient of some stain-fighting toothpastes, and is noted for its potential to help whiten teeth with minimal chemical interaction.
Brush With Fame
The American Dental Association lists more than a dozen toothpastes that meet its minimum requirement for aiding in coffee and cigarette stain whitening. These products earned the ADA seal of approval for safety and effectiveness. The Colgate brand earned the most approval seals, followed by teeth-whitening toothpastes produced by Crest and Tom's of Maine for the most mentions.