Do Coffee and Tea
Really
Stain Your Teeth?

Do Coffee and Tea Really Stain Your Teeth? Do Coffee and Tea Really Stain Your Teeth?

It’s a sad truth that coffee and tea do stain
your teeth. These commonly enjoyed
beverages are highly consumed, maybe
solely for taste or that
rush of caffeine, but
with each blissful sip, the liquid swishing
through your mouth leaves stains on your
teeth that aren’t simple to remove
without
extra care.

Does Coffee Stain Your
Teeth?

There is no way to disguise this answer, so,
simply put…yes. Americans, on average, drink
nine pounds of coffee per year per person,
and, let’s
face it, some of us drink way more
than that! A solid tooth whitening regimen is
necessary to keep teeth white for most
anyone, and nine
pounds of coffee annually is
not something to scoff at, so let’s visit why
coffee stains our once-so-white teeth.

Why Does Coffee Stain
Your Teeth?

Tannic acid, or tannin, is a compound found
in coffee—and other plants like some leaves,
fruits, seeds and bark—and contributes to
the bitter
taste in coffee but also drives the
staining power of this loved beverage. While
a coffee bean may look familiar—the small,
brown, oblong (and
deliciously smelling)
roasted bean— it did not begin this way, it
was once a whole fruit called a coffee cherry.
A huge factor in tannin levels and
overall
quality of coffee is based on ripeness of the
fruit when it is picked. If the coffee cherry
hasn’t ripened to a bright, deep red, the
coffee
will contain more tannin, leaving it
very bitter and with more staining ability.

How to Reduce Coffee Stains

Quality of coffee plays a role here. Unripe
coffee cherries contain more tannins than
ripe
cherries; so, not only will there be more
tannin that drives teeth stains, but the end
product will
be more bitter. Some finer
coffees are made from coffee cherries which
were selectively picked,
ensuring they were
only picked when fully ripened, opposed to
cherries that were strip picked
regardless of
ripeness. The former is a more labor-
intensive process so will certainly cost more
to
enjoy but may be worth it for sake of taste
and tooth staining power.

Dark roast coffee is another option to reduce
tooth discoloration. Seems like a bit of a

contradiction because you may think the
deeper color of dark roast would cause more
teeth
stains, but the longer the coffee bean is
roasted, the more the tannin molecule is
broken down.
Less tannin equals less staining.

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Cold brew coffee is a process where coffee
brews at room temperature for roughly 12-16
hours. This method requires no heat.
Because of the
chemical breakdown in this
process versus hot brewing coffee, cold brew
contains fewer tannins. This means a weaker
ability to stain teeth and
a less bitter taste.

Cold brew coffee is a process where coffee
brews at room temperature for roughly 12-16
hours. This method requires no heat.
Because of the
chemical breakdown in this
process versus hot brewing coffee, cold brew
contains fewer tannins. This means a weaker
ability to stain teeth and
a less bitter taste.

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Does Tea Stain Your Teeth?

Does Tea Stain Your Teeth?

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Whether you prefer it hot or cold, tea is an
incredibly popular beverage worldwide. In
fact, outside of
the United States, tea is the
second most consumed beverage, falling just
below water. In the United
States, however,
coffee is still consumed at a higher rate. Tea
is often bought in a ready to drink form,

which people enjoy as a typical cold beverage
and may keep stocked in the fridge. Tea is
also bought in
the more traditional loose leaf
form which requires steeping.

So does tea stain your teeth? Sadly, the answer
here is yes, and potentially even worse than
coffee
because it may contain more tannin (like
double the amount in some leaves). Sorry, tea
lovers! Tannin is
still the culprit here for teeth
stains and can come in at pretty high levels.
Fortunately, there are several
varieties of tea -
some containing less tannin than others - and
options for how you prepare your tea
that
affect the amount of tannins.

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Why Does Tea Stain Your Teeth?

Why Does Tea Stain Your Teeth?

Staining power comes from the same
molecules that are the culprits in coffee:
tannin. Different tea leaves contain different
amounts. Black tea
and green tea contain
the most tannin, while oolong tea and white
tea contain less. Black tea has the highest
tannin level because it oxidizes the
most,
meaning it has the most organic breakdown,
leaving behind a dark color and heightened
tannin level. There is less oxidation that
occurs
in oolong and white teas, so fewer
tannins and less teeth stains.

How to Reduce Teeth Stains
from Tea

Selecting a lighter colored tea will help in
this department, as opposed to the darker
option we recommended for coffee drinkers.
While coffee
and tea differ on how they stain
your teeth when it comes to their perceived
darkness, other factors are quite similar.

Same as cold brew coffee, cold brew tea will
contain fewer tannins than hot steeped tea.
In the cold brew process, fewer tannins are
released. If
you have the time, leave your tea
to soak in a pitcher full of water, placed in
the refrigerator, for 12 or so hours. If you
crave a hot beverage,
simply warm this up
after it has cold brewed!

If you are opting to make a nice, hot cup of
freshly steeped loose leaf tea, the amount of
time you allow it to steep will affect tannin
levels. The
less time to steep, the fewer
tannins that make their way into your cup.

How to Remove Coffee and
Tea Stains from Your Teeth

Now that we’ve covered what part of coffee
and tea stain your teeth, and how to help
reduce the rate at which it does, it’s time to
tell you that
staining will occur even with
thoughtful practice to reduce its occurrences.
Slowing the rate at which teeth staining
happens is great, but
removing what’s left
behind is necessary for your oral health.

Teeth are made of three layers, the outer being
enamel, which is what’s outwardly affected by
what we eat and drink. Over time teeth stains
can
work their way into the second layer of
your tooth, the dentin, and become much
tougher stains to remove; therefore, having a
tooth whitening
regimen is paramount.

Even on top of ways to make choices with
fewer tannins, there’s a few additional things
you can do while drinking tea or coffee.

  • Drinking through a straw will limit the liquid that comes in contact with your teeth and gives the liquid a more direct path to the
    back of your mouth.
  • Drinking through a straw will limit
    the liquid that comes in contact
    direct path to the
    back of your
    mouth.
  • Add a little milk to your coffee or
    tea as this helps dilute tannin levels.
  • Rinse out your mouth and/or brush
    your teeth directly after these loved
    beverages to give your teeth an
    immediate clean before
    stains set in.
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It is essential for your oral health to brush
your teeth twice daily, floss once daily and
see your
dentist twice yearly for a cleaning.
Coffee and tea stains are more stubborn than
some so adding
a whitening regimen to your
day-to-day will spare you tremendously on
stubborn teeth stains.
Adding a whitening gel
to your preferred toothpaste, twice daily, will
truly help keep your teeth
looking their best.
At your bi-annual cleaning, your dental
hygienist will do his or her best to
remove
the remainder of your stubborn teeth stains
to restore their pearly glory.

Believe it or not, tannins are strong enough
to dye fabric, and are actually used for that
purpose.
If tannins can dye a shirt, imagine
what these compounds can do to the color
of your teeth—
yikes! This is a scary thought,
for sure, but with proper selection of your
preferred beverage and
extra tender love and
care for your teeth, your smile will stay
beautiful and bright!

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