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Does Tea Stain Your Teeth?

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Most people know coffee is a major culprit of stained teeth. 

But did you know tea can also turn your pearly whites a yellowish tint? In fact, black tea might be more likely than coffee to stain your teeth, due to its high tannin content. (Tannins, organic substances in plants, are what stain your teeth and gums.) 

As a rule, the darker the tea color, the greater chance it will stain your teeth.

Despite all that, you may not be ready to give up drinking tea. So it’s important to look after your teeth to keep the staining to a minimum.  

How To Reduce Tea Stains  

Drinking tea can cause lasting discoloration of your teeth. That said, it's possible to reduce staining through good healthy oral care habits

At home, the simple act of 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 also help rinse away some of the tannins left in your mouth.  

Lighter-colored teas stain less, so switching from black to herbal or green teas can reduce staining. Just know that even lighter teas such as chamomile and hibiscus, if regularly consumed, will discolor your teeth over time. 

How To Remove Tea Stains  

Now that you're aware that tea can stain your teeth, you might want to think about a teeth whitening process to combat discoloration.  

The simplest approach is using a teeth whitening toothpaste. Some can whiten your teeth up to three shades lighter. And results can start to show within one week.  

Another easy-to-use option is a teeth whitening mouthwash. Just swish it around in your mouth right after brushing to get into those hard-to-reach areas a toothbrush can’t go. 

You can also supplement your usual brushing routine with an at-home teeth whitening kit. There are quite a few product types to choose from, including strips, gels, LED lights, and even a whitening pen. 

Whichever teeth whitening method you decide on, be sure to use products that have the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. It’s an important measure toward ensuring the products you’re using are both safe and effective.   

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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