person standing outdoors and drinking tea

Can you get stained teeth from tea?

Many people wonder ‘Does tea stain your teeth?’ and, unfortunately, the answer is yes. In fact, tea might be even more likely to stain your teeth than coffee due to its higher tannin content.

If you don't want to give up drinking tea, it is important to look after your teeth to keep teeth staining to a minimum. Read on to find out more about how tea can stain your tooth enamel, how to maintain good oral hygiene while enjoying tea and how to get rid of existing stains on your teeth. 

Different types of tea and their staining potential

A lot of us would find it difficult to get through the day without the comfort of a cuppa or two, but did you know tea is one of the biggest culprits for staining your teeth? The tannins found in black, green, herbal and even iced tea can cause teeth staining and discolouration of your gums, especially if you’re partial to more than one cup a day! 

Green tea can leave a dull, grey tinge on your smile, while black tea can leave teeth with yellow stains. Even herbal teas like chamomile or hibiscus can cause staining if you drink them frequently over a long period of time. One solution is to add some milk or cream to your tea – studies show this may make the staining less severe. 

Maintaining good oral hygiene while enjoying tea

Drinking tea can cause lasting discolouration, but it’s possible to reduce staining by sticking to healthy oral care habits.

At home, simple things such as brushing your teeth regularly can help. Brushing twice a day is good, but brushing immediately after you drink a cup of tea is even better. Drinking water after a cup of tea can help to rinse away the tannins in your mouth and reduce teeth staining too. Switching from black tea to herbal tea may reduce staining slightly, but it won’t eliminate the problem completely.

Other drinks to avoid

Now you know about the teeth-staining properties of tea, you might be interested to know what other drinks can cause discolouration of your teeth. Here are some of the other beverages to watch out for if you want to keep your teeth bright and white!

  • Coffee: as you might expect, drinking coffee is also particularly bad for staining your teeth, especially if you drink it black or enjoy an espresso in the morning. Again, by adding milk to your coffee, you may eliminate some of the staining properties.
  • Red wine: the acidity of red wine can cause pores in your tooth enamel to open, while the dark colour can easily attach to these damaged, porous areas.
  • Fruit juice: deep-coloured fruit juices from berries like cranberries, blueberries and pomegranates can also penetrate your tooth enamel and cause discolouration.
  • Fizzy drinks and energy drinks: especially dark-coloured fizzy drinks like cola can cause erosion of the tooth enamel due to its acidity, which then causes teeth staining.

If you love these drinks, try to consume them in moderation or drink them through a straw as much as you can to eliminate their contact with the surfaces of your teeth. 

Get rid of existing stains

Now that you know you can get stained teeth from tea and other drinks, you might like to think about a teeth whitening treatment to combat discolouration. You can do this at home using teeth whitening kits or products that work alongside your usual brushing routine. Some products you can use to brighten your teeth and keep your mouth healthy include:

Whitening toothpaste: Brush your teeth twice a day with a whitening toothpaste that will work to keep your teeth bright and white. For example, Colgate Max White Ultimate Radiance Toothpaste is our most advanced whitening toothpaste yet. We’ve developed this enamel-safe toothpaste to reverse up to 15 years of deep-set stains caused by food and drink with just 4 weeks of continued use!

Professional whitening: Your dentist will be able to let you know the teeth whitening treatments they offer in-chair. The most common option is professional bleaching using a custom mouthguard you’ll wear over your teeth. Your dentist will apply the bleaching agent to the mouthguard which you’ll then wear for around an hour – you can repeat this process until you achieve the level of whiteness you desire! Alternatively, you may choose to get laser whitening. This whitening treatment is quick and offers great results as the laser can boost the active ingredients in the bleaching solution, but it’s usually the most expensive option. 

At-home whitening: If you’d prefer to whiten your teeth at home, there are plenty of options available to you. You can get an at-home bleaching kit from your dentist, or you might choose one of our Colgate whitening solutions like our LED Whitening Kit or our Overnight Whitening Pen. We have many products available that will give you great results and leave your smile sparkling! 

So, now you know the answer to the question ‘Does tea stain your teeth?’ Hopefully, now you have the information you need to make choices that are great for your teeth and keep your smile bright!



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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.