Tea has a bad reputation for causing teeth stains, and this reputation is somewhat deserved. Some types of tea do contain chemicals that can worsen dental stains. However, you can prevent dental stains from tea by changing how you drink it and how you take care of your teeth afterward.
Black tea can cause dental stains because of the tannins present in the tea liquor. Tea is more likely to stain your teeth than other beverages because it has higher amounts of tannins than other drinks. Proper dental care can help prevent the build-up of tannins on tooth enamel from drinking tea.
Whether tea stains your teeth or not depends on what types of tea you like to drink and how well you’re taking care of your teeth. Read on to learn more about what causes tea stains on your teeth and how to prevent them.
Does Drinking Tea Cause Dental Stains?
There’s no doubt that drinking tea can cause dental stains on your teeth over time. The tannins present in tea can stain teeth on their own, but tea is also acidic in pH. This acidic solution acts to break down the top layer of enamel on your teeth, making it easier for tannin stains to set in.
Does Tea Stain Teeth More Than Coffee?
Neither coffee or tea are great for your teeth when it comes to dental stains, but tea is the worst of the two. Tea has higher levels of both acid and tannins than coffee. This chemical makeup makes tea more likely to cause dental stains if you drink it every day.
How Do You Keep Tea From Staining Your Teeth?
Even though tea has a bad reputation for staining your teeth, this doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to having yellowed teeth if you’re a tea lover. There are several methods you can use to help protect your teeth against staining if you drink tea regularly. Here are the most effective ones :
- Brush your teeth thirty minutes after you finish a cup of tea. It’s important that you don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking tea, as the surface of your enamel will be soft from the acid in the teeth and brushing this early may actually cause damage. Thirty minutes will give the enamel time to harden back up before you brush.
- Drink through a straw. Drinking your tea through a strain helps it bypass your teeth and helps reduce the amount of direct contact the tea has with your tooth enamel.
- Add milk to your tea. The proteins in milk attach to the polyphenols and tannins in coffee, preventing the tea from staining your teeth. Note that adding sugar to tea may accelerate the erosion of your tooth enamel and lead to increased staining.
- Swish water around in your mouth after drinking tea. This will help remove a lot of the tea that is left in direct contact with your tooth enamel when you swallow the tea residue with the water. Avoid swishing tea or coffee around in your mouth to reduce dental stains.
While tea might stain your teeth if you don’t take care of them, it doesn’t have to. Following the simple steps above can allow you to enjoy your daily tea without having to worry about discoloring your teeth at the same time.
Is There Any Tea That Doesn’t Stain Teeth?
If you’re concerned about black tea staining your teeth, there are other types of tea out there that don’t have the same reputation for dental stains. Some tea types have a reputation for causing dental stains, while others are not quite as bad for your teeth.
Does Green Tea Stain Teeth?
Unfortunately, green tea will stain your teeth just as easily as black tea if you don’t brush your teeth after drinking it.
The reason is that green tea is essentially the same plant as black tea, with the same tannins and other polyphenols that can cause dental stains. The dental stains caused by black tea can cause teeth to look yellowish, while the dental stains caused by green tea can cause teeth to take on a gray tone.
Teas That Don’t Stain Teeth
Black and green tea may stain your teeth without proper dental care, but there are other tea varieties that are a lot easier on teeth if you’re worried about dental stains. Choosing one of these alternative tea types can help you prevent stains without a lot of extra careful brushing or maintenance.
Here are a few of the best tea varieties that don’t cause dental stains:
- Rooibos tea: Rooibos tea (also known as red tea or red bush tea) has a deep nutty flavor that is appreciated by tea and coffee drinkers alike. Despite its bright red color in a cup, this South African beverage is less likely to stain your teeth than traditional black or green tea. This herbal tea is also a good caffeine-free beverage option.
- Peppermint tea: Peppermint tea is a refreshing tea option that is full of antioxidants and other healthy botanicals. This tea is commonly consumed as a digestive aid. Peppermint tea is close to a neutral pH and has a low amount of tannins compared to other tea types.
- White tea: White tea is made from the same plant as green and black tea. However, white tea is harvested before the tea leaves fully open, which means they have a minimal amount of tannins and polyphenols compared to matured tea plants. The liquor of white tea is lighter in color compared to either green or black tea.
These are only a few of the tea varieties out there that you can enjoy without risking stains on your teeth. Most tea varieties other than black and green tea are better when it comes to dental stains, so going with herbal tea over black tea is always a smart choice if you’re trying to prevent damage to your teeth.
How to Remove Tea Stains on Teeth
If you’ve already developed stains on your teeth as a result of drinking tea, it’s not the end of the world. The truth is that it’s actually normal for people to develop slight discoloration on their teeth as they grow older due to a combination of diet, age, and genetics. Discoloration of your teeth caused by tea stains or other causes isn’t necessarily a health issue, but a cosmetic one.
Removing stains from your teeth can be accomplished through several methods. These are a few of them:
- Strawberries: Strawberries contain an enzyme known as malic acid which can help to organically whiten teeth. Rubbing mashed strawberries on your teeth and allowing them to sit for several minutes before rinsing and brushing with toothpaste can help whiten and remove tea stains.
- Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide: Rubbing a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda on your teeth can be an easy way to whiten them without paying for expensive commercial teeth whiteners. Let this solution sit on your teeth for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing and brushing with traditional toothpaste.
- Activated charcoal: Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal can help lift stains off the surface of your tooth enamel. There are also commercial toothpastes that contain activated charcoal that can help whiten tea stains.
If you have significant staining on your teeth, you always have the option to get your teeth professionally cleaned at the dentist’s office, too. The dentist has access to whitening solutions and specialized tools that can make it easier to get stubborn tea stains off your teeth.
Tea Can Cause Teeth Staining But Don’t Despair
If you’re worried about stains on your teeth, black and green tea can definitely cause them. Just taking the time to take care of your teeth each day can prevent any permanent damage you might see from drinking tea.
Make sure you always follow up a cup of tea with a glass of water, and make sure to hold off on brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes to avoid damaging your tooth enamel.