Wondering if tea stains your teeth? Yes, it does. But that doesn’t mean that you should give up tea or coffee altogether! Tea and coffee stain teeth just the same way they do to a piece of cloth.
If you immediately try to wash off the stain from the fabric then most of the time you get lucky. Similarly, after drinking tea or coffee, if you rinse your mouth immediately with water, you may not get any tea stains.
However, in this article, we will discuss how you can you protect your teeth from tea stains without giving up drinking tea completely.
Apart from professional dental cleaning session, we can adopt some of the home remedies to help remove tea stains from your teeth. These super easy home remedies are baking soda, lime & salt, activated charcoal, etc.
Why does tea stain your teeth?
The enamel, the outer coating of the crown of the tooth, consists of tiny gaps. When food and drink particles get stuck in the gap, they form an extrinsic stain which is how tea or coffee stains teeth surfaces.
When a person drinks tea in excess and doesn’t take care of oral hygiene, the stain goes deeper and deeper. Over time, the particles start to affect other layers of the tooth and become intrinsic stain and are harder to remove than extrinsic stain.
Furthermore, tea contains tannic acid which is capable of creating pores in the enamel. These pores collect pigments from the beverages such as tea and coffee. Tea has more tannin than coffee.
Let us explore on how to take care of teeth so that stains don’t crop up and if you already have stains then how to get rid of them. (1)
Home remedies to get rid of tea stain
Plaque accumulation is the primary cause of tooth stain. So, brushing your teeth with a whitening toothpaste and going to the dentist for scaling once every six months are the best ways to prevent tooth stain. (2)
Flossing every day sounds like too much work but setting aside a few minutes in the day or at night could make a significant impact on your oral health.
Flossing helps get rid of plaque from difficult to brush areas. We know plaque attracts stain and brushing alone is not as effective as the brushing with flossing does.
Mix baking soda with water to make a paste and apply it on your teeth, then brush your teeth with the toothbrush. Use a reasonably runny paste, so that there is not an excess of baking soda.
You can also directly dip your wet toothbrush in baking soda and brush as usual. After brushing with baking soda, brush your teeth with a fluoride-based toothpaste.
Frequent use of baking soda can cause abrasion of enamel, so brush with baking soda every alternate day. It takes 4-5 weeks to see visible results on teeth.
Lime and salt
Using lime and salt paste is an age-old method. Mix lime and salt to make a runny paste and use it to brush your tooth. This mix will help to get rid of stains.
Mix one drop of hydrogen peroxide with baking soda to make a runny paste to brush your teeth. Use a judicious amount of baking soda since too much baking soda could cause abrasion of enamel.
Add milk to your tea. Milk contains protein casein, which is the main milk protein, which holds on to tannins in tea and prevents staining. For best results use milk with high-fat content. Soy milk isn’t helpful so don’t expect soy milk to work.
After drinking tea, wash your mouth with water or drink some water. Water will wash away the staining liquid before they start to settle down into your teeth.
Apple cider vinegar whitens teeth but also causes erosion of teeth. So use very diluted amounts of apple cider vinegar to swish your mouth.
Sugar-free chew gum
Chewing sugar-free gum washes away acids and plaque from teeth by increasing saliva in your mouth. According to the ADA, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent tooth decay
Activated charcoal is highly absorbent and gets rid of stains, toxins, and bacteria in the mouth.
Open a capsule of activated charcoal and empty the contents on your toothbrush. Gently brush your teeth using small circles for two minutes. Activated charcoal is abrasive so be careful near the gums.
If you have sensitive teeth or want to limit the abrasiveness, then dab the powder on your teeth and leave it for two minutes and rinse after that.
You can mix activated charcoal with water to make mouthwash. Swish the solution for two minutes before spitting out. Rinse your mouth thoroughly post that.
A major disadvantage of activated charcoal is its abrasiveness which can cause more harm than benefit. Also, the charcoal powder could get embedded in margins or cracks present in teeth of aged people, and that won’t be a pleasant sight for sure!
Use a straw
Use a straw to drink tea so that less liquid comes in contact with teeth surfaces. A small straw is more effective than a longer one. Although, a straw is more common in case of iced tea or iced coffee. But for the sake of your teeth, try it with hot beverages too.
Conventional treatment – Dental cleaning
Every six months go for a round of professional scaling. You will get rid of any stain in your teeth and also scaling helps in eliminating plaque from teeth. Regular scaling helps keep gums and teeth healthy apart from removing stains.
Now, this has to be made mandatory for everyone as it will help you maintain good oral hygiene.
Over to you
Drink tea and coffee in moderation. Also, make sure that you follow the above steps for the protection of your pearly whites from the brown tea stains.
It goes without saying that don’t miss your yearly two times dental check-ups. During routine visits, your dentist can timely advise you better on how to take care of your teeth.