Drinking tea every day may bring happiness, but it can also lead to a less than stellar smile. Tea’s tannins can stain teeth, resulting in unpleasant discoloration over time. The acidity of tea can also cause porousness in the enamel, leading to staining below the surface as well. According to Colgate’s Oral and Dental Health Resource Center, tea may actually stain more than coffee. There are a few ways that tea drinkers can limit this staining and protect their smiles. Drinking water, brushing teeth, flossing, and chewing gum after sipping tea can remove some tannins, resulting in less impact on the teeth.
For the downsides around staining, tea may have some important benefits when it comes to oral health. Nearly two decades ago, the Journal of Dentistry was already reporting that the tannins, catechins, caffeine, and tocopherol in tea combined with its naturally occurring fluoride protect tooth enamel from acidic solutions. Another study in the Journal of Periodontology of Japanese men found that those who drank green tea saw improvements in gum recession and bleeding gums also. Those researchers believed that green tea’s catechins helped block inflammation caused by bacteria.
Another benefit, a University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry study showed that polyphenols could block the work of an enzyme that helps to create hydrogen sulfide, a factor leading to bad breath. So raise a cuppa to healthier teeth and gums.