Are you a coffee drinker? If you are, look into the mirror and smile. Take a look at those pearly whites. Are they as bright as they could be? Now breathe into your hands and take a whiff. Is your breath as fresh as it might be? If the answer to either is not, you may be in need of some advice on how to whiten teeth and get rid of bad breath.
According to Heidi Hackett, a dental health expert in the Seattle area, the key to keeping teeth white and avoiding halitosis is simple. She told MSNBC that she suggests to her patients that they change their coffee-drinking habits.
That's it. While that may sound like facile advice, Hackett said that coffee may be staining your teeth in a way you don't even realize - namely, the milk and sugar many people add to the beverage.
We Americans are more than a little crazy about our java. According to the 2011 Coffee Statistics Report, U.S. residents drink an estimated 400 million cups of joe per day. This means that in one year, Americans down 146 billion cups of the stuff.
Just take that in for a moment. For some perspective, imagine you are looking at the torrent of water that pours over Niagara Falls. To see 146 billion cups go by, you'd have to stare at the falls for more than three hours!
Can you see why so many coffee-lovers might want to learn how to whiten teeth?
According to Hackett, it isn't the coffee itself that is staining teeth and causing dental decay all over this great land of ours. It's what we put in the beverage that's to blame. She told the news source that milk and sugar give anaerobic bacteria a feast of lactose, fructose, glucose and other compounds.
Bathed in such stuff, the microbes in your mouth grow out of control, emitting smelly compounds and attacking the enamel on your teeth. Over time, this process can lead to serious tooth decay, cavities, gum disease or even periodontitis.
If you worry that your java is doing a number on your teeth, consider using a specialty teeth whitening kit that uses tooth molds, not strips or paste. Molds are the only reliable way to get whitening paste onto every visible surface of each tooth.
As a bonus, these products will also freshen your breath!