Green tea has become quite “a thing” since the past few years. According to the latest report, nearly 60,000 tons are consumed every year. Partly due to aggressive advertising and partly due to its genuine health benefits, more and more people are choosing green tea for their daily dose of caffeine. However, you are not here for an encyclopedia on green tea. You want to know whether green tea can cause staining.
Short answer: Moderate consumption of any tea, be it green or black tea won’t stain your teeth. Think about it, freshly brewed tea is basically water with added flavonoids and antioxidants. Therefore, tea is basically 90% water. And water doesn’t stain teeth. Get my point?
But observe the operative word here- “moderate”. Drinking 5-6 cups of green could cause grey staining which is just as bad as yellow staining. However, I’ll have to elaborate on the nature of green tea and its effect on your teeth thoroughly in order to properly answer your question.
Table of Contents
Key Factors To Consider
Truth be told, almost everything you eat or drink stains your teeth to some extent. And it’s also very much true that all types of tea stain your teeth. However, teas darker in color and diluted with additives like sugar and creamer are the worst. Since nobody in their right mind would add lots of sugar and creamer in green tea, it is less likely to trigger tooth discoloration.
Tannins- The Evilest of All
But what are we going to do about the tannin content in it? It’s a tea after all and has tannins in it. For those who don’t know, tannin is the key reason why tea became a controversial beverage in the first place. This organic substance can gradually build upon our tooth enamel and break it down. Once enamel is broken, it’s easy for pigmented molecules to stick to your teeth and cause discoloration.
Some would say green tea is bad for teeth because of its highly acidic nature. This is not true at all. The safe pH level in beverages (for preventing tooth staining) is 5.5. Anything lower than that has a higher chance of causing discoloration. Green tea has a pH value of 7-10. So backlashing gree tea for its acidic nature is not justified. You should rather maintain a good distance from lemon tea if teeth staining is a big concern. Lemon tea’s pH level is 3. Also, it’s best to avoid other fruity teas as they are more acidic in nature than regular black tea or herbal teas.
The Way You Drink Your Tea
It’s not right to blame green tea (or any tea) alone for teeth staining. A lot depends on how you consume your tea. If you really want to keep drinking tea without attracting its tooth harming effects, avoid the following habits:
- Slowly sipping, swishing the tea in your mouth. The longer you keep in your mouth, the greater are the chances of enamel damage. You should try using a straw to drink your beverage to avoid staining.
- Consuming more than 4 cups a day.
- Brushing your teeth immediately after drinking tea. It is a popular misconception that brushing teeth immediately after drinking tea or coffee will prevent staining. In reality, it does that exact opposite. After drinking acidic beverages like tea, the outer layer of your teeth or enamel softens. That’s why brushing immediately can greatly damage the enamel. Wait for the enamel to harden for at least an hour before brushing.
- Drinking a poor quality green tea. From my personal experience, I can safely tell you that this is the key reason why people are even questioning green tea. Most of us are unknowingly using heavily oxidized tea. The oxidization process eliminates much of the nutritional benefits of this beautiful beverage. Instead, it gets loaded with lead, aluminum, and fluoride which are detrimental to our health.
The best way to identify whether the tea is oxidized or not is to notice the color. If it appears more brown than green, better avoid it. Instead, choose Japanese green tea or Matcha which is the purest form of commercially available green tea. Matcha is one of the healthiest beverages out there and is super easy to make too. Since it comes in the form of a gorgeous green powder, you just need to mix a spoonful in water and enjoy!
Ways to Prevent Teeth Stains
- Maintain good oral hygiene. If you are already dealing with minor discoloration issue, you can use a teeth whitening toothpaste. But remember that such kinds of toothpaste can’t clean beyond tooth surface. In addition to a good toothpaste, you should also floss every day to prevent gum problems and strengthen the enamel. I can understand that thread flossing can be painful and time-consuming. You can opt for an oral irrigator or cordless water flosser for more efficient yet pain-free flossing.
- An instant fix for tea or coffee induced teeth staining is baking soda gargle. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth with it. It will also help you fight bad breath and gum problems. Just be careful not to hold the baking soda water for too long in your mouth.
- I know it’s fun to sip on your cuppa slowly while reading a book or traveling. But if you have sensitive or stain-prone teeth, I’m afraid you’ll have to compromise with the fun a little bit by drinking it as quick as possible.
- To reduce the stain causing ability of tannins, you can add just a dash of milk in your green tea. Milk contains casein which attaches to the molecules of tannin and prevents it from forming stain build up on enamel. Alternatively, you can also use a straw to drink as I’ve already said before. However, both options sound ridiculous, to be honest. Who drinks hot milk green tea with a straw? So it leaves you with only two options. Cut down the daily green tea consumption to 1-2 cups and use a high-quality, unoxidized green tea.
- Finally, get your teeth professionally checked and cleaned in every 6 months. If that’s a problem and then at least once in a year. Also, you should see a dentist immediately if the discoloration problem appears severe to you. Right treatment at the right time can definitely reverse staining.
Oral Benefits of Green Tea
I am strictly against the belief that you should stop drinking green tea to reduce the risk of discoloration. According to a study published by the Journal of Periodontology, green tea is extremely beneficial for periodontal health.
Another study says that green tea stunts the growth of bacteria responsible for gum diseases, cavity, and bad breath. Those who drink this beverage on a regular basis have a lesser chance of developing oral cancer than those who don’t.
Not just oral health, this antioxidant-rich tea also boosts metabolism, decreases heart disease risk, keeps cholesterol under control, has strong antibacterial properties and never fails to refresh us after a long, tiring day in office.
The best way to get the maximum health benefits of green tea (and avoid the teeth discoloration effect) is to drink it the right way. Instead of loading it with refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, mix a teaspoon of 100% organic honey in it. You can also add a little bit of ginger to enhance the flavor.
The Bottom Line
Does green tea stain your teeth? No, and yes. It can cause irreversible gray staining if you are drinking too much green tea, with too much sugar. It won’t stain your teeth if you limit your daily intake, drink a premium green tea and take good care of your oral health. As simple as that. Have a good day and take care of that beautiful smile of yours!