You probably know that coffee stains your teeth, so you might assume that tea is a better alternative. The truth is, tea also stains teeth and might be more likely to discolor your pearly whites than coffee because of its high tannin content. This is especially true for darker tea colors, like black teas, which are the leading teeth strainers.
Research suggests that the way tea is processed (oxidation) affects the way your teeth are stained. The more the product is oxidized or processed, the higher its staining effects are. The good news is you don’t have to give up drinking tea if it is your go-to beverage.
Dentists in Orange County share a few strategies that can help reduce stains.
- Use milk. Add a dash of milk to your daily cup. Studies suggest that doing so cuts the tea’s ability to stain and discolor your pearly whites. The protein in milk binds to the tannin to reduce staining.
- Invest in quality. Different types of tea cause different stains, but it is best to choose high-quality products, as low-quality ones produce more stains. Quality green teas that are green in color are less likely to discolor your pearlies than those that look brown.
- Drink water. After drinking a cup of tea, rinse your mouth with water to lessen the amount of tannin that attaches to your teeth. Drinking using a straw also helps.
- Brush your teeth. Brushing twice a day can help reduce stains. After drinking tea, however, be sure to wait for at least an hour before brushing to avoid enamel erosion.
- Use whitening products. Whitening toothpaste may not completely change the color of your teeth, but they can remove surface stains and prevent further discoloration. You can also schedule an in-office whitening treatment if you have noticeably yellow teeth.
Don’t let stains compromise your smile. Limit your consumption of tea and other staining beverages such as coffee and wine. You should also visit your dentist for checkups, cleaning, and whitening treatment.