how to prevent tea stains on teeth

While tea is an enjoyable beverage that many drinks on a day-to-day basis, which makes some people wonder how to prevent tea stains on teeth when they consume it so frequently.

If you’re an avid tea drinker and you’d like to be able to enjoy it and keep your pearly whites, well, white, then follow these simple steps to prevent brown, yellow, and gray tint.

We’ll also go over which teas to look out for, and alternatives that won’t have such an impact on tooth color.

Also learn the best ways to remove the stains if they’re already there and you need to lighten your teeth.

The best way to prevent tea stains on your teeth is to wait half an hour after drinking the tea and then brush your teeth to remove the residue that stays behind, causing discoloration.

Why Does Tea Stains Teeth?

tea stains teeth

The reason that you’d have to look out for this inconvenience is that it contains a chemical called tannin.

The higher the tannin content in the tea, the more likely it is to stain your teeth because it causes plaque buildup, making your teeth look yellow.

Additionally, other components of the tea may make your teeth look dingy, such as theabrownins, thearubigins, and theaflavins.

If you like your tea strong, without added ingredients, you’re more at risk for staining.

Tip: Adding an ingredient like lemon to your tea makes it lighter and reduces the potency of the staining chemicals.

Does Drinking Black Tea Cause Stains on Teeth?

One of the most popular teas that people drink is black tea, including certain variations of fruit teas infused with black tea, which alters the color.

black tea causes stain on teeth

Our tooth enamel is permeable, and it easily absorbs the tannins from this particularly dark tea.

After a prolonged period of drinking black tea, your teeth will gradually turn an unsightly brown color.

Naturally, our teeth become duller as we age, dark drinks like black tea as well as green tea only accelerate the process.

Which Teas Are Less Harmful?

Try these alternatives to black tea that won’t stain your teeth as quickly, if at all:

  • Green tea
  • White tea
  • Herbal teas
  • Peppermint tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Rooibos tea
Tip: Herbal teas are also a good option because they contain "tisanes," which don't discolor your teeth like authentic tea varieties.

What to Do If My Teeth Are Already Stained?

teeth already stained

If your teeth are already stained, and you want to know how to reduce tea stains on teeth, try these methods to lighten them a few shades.

The efficacy of these methods depends on how discolored your teeth have become.

1. Tooth Whitening Products

If your teeth have become too dark, you can try teeth whitening products.

Products such as whitening strips and special kinds of toothpaste can help to make your teeth brighter.

If you can afford professional services, a trip to the dentist’s office for a consultation can help you decide which whitening treatment is best.

Note: There may be highly effective options, but they'll be expensive.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda Paste

hydrogen peroxide and baking soda

Using a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide mix with one tablespoon of baking can help to remove stains.

The peroxide cleans your gums and mouth because it has antibacterial properties.

The baking soda, along with the hydrogen peroxide, functions as a bleaching agent.

Mix eight ounces of water with the same amount of hydrogen peroxide and add baking soda until you get a semi-thick paste. 

Apply on your teeth and leave it for ten minutes.

Rinse your mouth thoroughly and repeat two to three times a week until you achieve the desired results.

3. Activated Charcoal

an activated charcoal

Using activated charcoal to brush your teeth will remove stains caused by tea.

In hospitals, it binds to poison within your stomach, and it can also pull out toxins, bacteria, and stains from your teeth.

Be careful with this method as it’s messier than others because of the black color.

Tip: Use strong whitening products such as baking soda or peroxide with caution, as they can erode your teeth if used too frequently.

Tips on How to Prevent Tea Stains on Teeth

Let’s be honest, completely giving up coffee or tea is easier said than done. Thankfully, you don’t have to.

tips on how to prevent stains

Although you may have some discoloration, the following tips might help you get your teeth back white.

Note: If you have cracks in your teeth or they are compromised in any way, you may not have as much success with these methods.

1. Brushing Your Teeth

If you want to prevent stains on your teeth, keep them as bright as you can by adopting a solid oral hygiene regimen.

You should brush your teeth at least two to three times per day for a minimum of two minutes each time.

The toothpaste should contain fluoride, which protects your teeth. Use floss one time a day to clean between your teeth, and always rinse after every meal.

These mechanisms reduce tartar, prevent your teeth from decaying, and help you retain the natural color of your teeth as much as possible.

2. Don’t Drink as Much Tea

dont drink too much tea

While it’s not the most fun solution to prevent your teeth from getting stained, you can always drink less tea in general.

You especially don’t want to drink dark teas such as black tea if you want to preserve your white teeth.

It’s a straightforward tactic that will yield the best results for prevention.

3. Drink a Different Variety of Tea

Though you may not prefer to ditch your favorite flavor of tea in exchange for something else, this approach satisfies two desires.

You don’t have to stop drinking tea completely, nor reduce your intake, and you can also prevent your teeth from getting stained by drinking a lighter tea.

4. Drink Your Tea With a Straw

drink with staws

Use a straw to drink your tea. It will be like a filter to keep the tea away from your front teeth, preventing the tannins from touching the surface of your teeth and staining them.

5. Add Milk to Your Tea

While milk won’t decrease the tannins present in your tea, it does help to stop them from getting stuck onto your teeth.

The calcium in milk strengthens the enamel on your teeth, making it hard for the tannins to penetrate.  

6. Rinse Your Mouth Afterward

Immediately rinse your teeth with mouth water or mouthwash directly after drinking black tea.

rinse mouth afterward

This serves to remove any dark-colored residue left over from the tea that may be stuck on the surface and in-between the teeth.

7. Chewing Gum

If you chew a piece of sugar-free gum after drinking tea, it can help to stimulate more saliva, which will serve as a neutralizer against acid.

Over time, the acid breaks down your teeth, causing decay, and increasing the chances of dark stains on the teeth.

Tip: Makeup artists frequently use a trick for women by applying red lipstick to contrast the teeth and make them appear whiter.

Frequently Asked Questions

popular questions

Below are the answers to the most commonly asked questions as it pertains to tea and stained teeth:

Are Tea Stains on Teeth Permanent?

Usually, tea stains on your teeth are permanent in the sense that regular brushing alone won’t necessarily return your teeth to their former shade of white.

If your teeth become too dark, then you can try professional services to whiten them artificially.

Does Tea Stain Your Teeth More than Coffee?

One of the first things people are surprised to learn is that tea is just as and maybe even more likely than coffee to cause discoloration on your teeth.

That’s because it’s full of tannins and acid as well, meaning it erodes your teeth over time which makes it easier for the tannins to stain them.

Final Thoughts

Black tea is the number one source of staining, but we’ve compiled a comprehensive list to show you helpful tips on how to prevent tea stains on teeth.

If you’ve already sustained substantial discoloration, try momentarily switching to another variety of tea to avoid further staining.

Drinking tea is relaxing, and various teas have a myriad of health benefits, such as soothing sore throats, easing congestion, and providing antioxidants.

Yet and still, you have to be cautious when consuming tea regularly because it adds up over the years.

Cleaning your teeth more frequently by brushing, flossing, and using special whitening products to reduce or remove staining.

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