If you drink a lot of green tea, you may start to develop gray staining marks on your teeth. Green tea can even stain your teeth worse than coffee does.
Different types of tea create distinct types of tooth discoloration. In this article, we’ll explain why green tea stains your teeth and present you with methods and strategies you can deploy to prevent teeth staining from drinking tea.
Why Does Green Tea Stain Your Teeth?
Green tea contains compounds known as tannins. These naturally-occurring compounds are bitter in taste and are found in many foods and beverages we eat every day, including grape skins and coffee grounds (which explains why red wine and coffee also give you tooth stains).
Tannins attract enzymes, sugars, carbohydrates, and proteins to the tooth. These compounds are responsible for the discoloration of your teeth.
What About Matcha?
Just like green tea, matcha contains tannins. This means that matcha can stain your teeth just like regular green tea can. However, matcha has a number of helpful properties for your oral health such as antioxidants which fight off tooth decay.
Do Other Types of Tea Stain Your Teeth Too?
Yes, black teas and most herbal teas also contain tannins, which will stain your teeth over time. While green tea will give you grayish staining, black teas leave yellow stains. Herbal teas will stain differently depending on the types of herbs being used.
Some types of tea are known to cause worse staining than others, as they contain higher tannin levels or produce a darker and more noticeable stain.
What is the Worst Tea for Teeth Staining?
Black tea stains your teeth even worse than coffee does. This is because black tea has a higher level of tannin than coffee does, and certainly has a higher level than green tea.
Fruit tea, in addition to the tannin compounds contained within, has the acidic properties of fruit that can wear away tooth enamel. Fruit tea is often savored for the flavor as well, meaning you’re more likely to hold it in your mouth longer before swallowing. This gives the harmful qualities of fruit tea more time to do damage to your tooth enamel.
What’s the Best Tea to Prevent Staining?
White tea does in fact contain tannins like other types of tea, but the stains produced by white tea are lighter in color. This means that the stains won’t be as noticeable at a glance, compared to the darker stains you might get from green tea, black tea, or herbal tea.
Peppermint is the rare breed of tea that often doesn’t include tannins, and even the recipes that do contain tannins don’t have a high level of them. This means that unless you drink peppermint tea in extremely high quantities, you’re unlikely to see staining on your teeth from it.
Ways to Prevent Green Tea Teeth Stains
If you’re an avid green tea drinker and just can’t help yourself from pouring a daily cup, there are some steps you can take to reduce teeth staining.
Wait 30 Minutes After Brushing
In general, you should avoid drinking any beverages for 30 minutes after you brush your teeth. This is because water can wash away the fluoride from your toothpaste before it has the chance to do its job.
Drink Through a Straw
While this may be difficult to do with hot teas, you should definitely consider drinking your iced teas through a straw. This cuts down on any interaction the tea has with your teeth, decreasing the opportunities for the tea to cause staining.
Rinse Your Mouth After Drinking Teas
Tannins are harmful because they sit on your teeth and attract harmful compounds to the enamel. By rinsing your mouth after you drink tea – or better yet, brushing your teeth! – you will cut down on the tannins and their ability to do damage to your enamel.
Add Milk or Creamer
That’s right: we’re actually encouraging you to use milk and creamer! Milk contains a compound called casein, which is trial-tested and proven as a neutralizer of teeth staining. Add a splash of milk to your next cup of tea and enjoy it guilt-free.
Get Regular Dental Cleanings and Exams
The best way to prevent long-term staining is to attend your twice-annual professional teeth cleanings at the dentist. Your dentist can remove most short-term teeth staining accrued from drinking green tea and drinking coffee so your stains don’t become more permanent.
Undergo Teeth Whitening Treatment
CNS Dental offers professional teeth whitening services that can help remove staining and restore your smile to its original glory. This solution is best for long-term staining that can’t be removed through a routine teeth cleaning.
Teeth Whitening in Arlington, VA
CNS Dental is a family dentistry serving people in Arlington, VA and all throughout the D.C. metro area. If you need to undergo teeth whitening to remove long-term stains from drinking green tea or for any other type of dental service, give us a call to schedule an appointment today.