The Smart Side of Beautiful

Do Coffee & Tea Stain Your Teeth?

by Nicole C. Bridge
Woman drinking tea
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The first cup of coffee in the morning can only be described as heaven, but you've probably heard that it can do a number on your teeth. Coffee stains on your teeth don't exactly make you feel like smiling. But is it better to get your fix with tea instead? The Mayo Clinic makes an important point that tea does contain less caffeine than coffee (which is probably for the best anyway), but what about your pearly whites? Does tea stain your teeth like coffee does?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. In fact, tea can discolor your teeth even more than coffee thanks to something called tannins. But don't worry: there are ways to avoid them. Here's everything you need to know about tea's effect on your teeth, and what you can do to keep your smile looking brighter.

What Makes Tea Stain Your Teeth?

Tannins are natural chemicals that give plants a defense against hungry, leaf-eaters (like yourself), according to Scientific American. They also happen to be what gives tea the deep, complex flavor that you know and love. They may taste great, but they're what gives your tea that dark color that clings to your white enamel (the outer layer of your teeth), leaving stains and dulling your smile.

How Can You Keep Your Smile On Point?

Here are some things you can do to protect your beautiful smile and keep staining to a minimum.

  • Sip through a straw when drinking tea both iced and hot to minimize its contact with your teeth.
  • Swish with water after drinking a cup of tea to clean your teeth before the stains can settle.
  • Switch to something lighter, like a green tea. Black teas like Earl Grey and English breakfast are more likely to stain.
  • Brush right away with a whitening toothpaste that is formulated to remove stains. Colgate® Optic White® High Impact White® whitens up to four shades*.

Tea's caffeine content is diluted, which makes it a great alternative to coffee if you're trying to cut back. Does tea stain your teeth? Yes, it does, but if you follow these tips you can avoid staining and still start each day with a smile.

*when brushing twice daily for 6 weeks.

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