Tea-staining: Reducing The Need For Dentist Intervention

Dentists are responsible for caring for our general oral health. They can perform restorative procedures such as fillings, endodontic procedures such as root canal and prosthesis such as dentures. However, usually, for the majority of people, dentists just give your teeth a good clean. Plaque, a sticky film coating the outside of your teeth, can attract bacteria from the food and drink that you consume throughout the day resulting in staining or decay. Staining is relatively common and is often the culprit that dentists deal with during your annual check-up. Black tea is a particularly culpable form of tea staining, and for those of us who cannot live without it, it is good to know how it is caused and how it may be prevented.


You have probably heard of it before; tannins are naturally occurring and relatively common – found in leaves and wood, and often responsible for the dark colour sometimes seen in streams. Tannins are a class of compound used in black teas. The slightly bitter taste of strong tea, and the fuzzy, dry sensation often felt on the palate after drinking tea is attributable to the tannic quality of the particular tea. Tannins do not have any negative impact on health and are actually responsible for the anti-oxidising nature of tea. However, because of the natural dark colour produced by tannins, the tannic quality of tea can wreak havoc on our pearly whites.

The staining process

Tea does not actually stain teeth; it stains the film of plaque on the outside of the teeth. If the plaque is not thoroughly brushed off the teeth within 24 hours, it starts to harden and becomes known as tartar. Tartar, although hard, is a porous substance, thus allowing for the absorption of dark tannins and other bacteria. The trapped tannins within the tartar appear as brown stains on the surface of the teeth, and this is what the dentist will be attacking during your visit.

An easy solution?

Recognising that it is the hardened plaque that attracts the tannin rather than the teeth itself is key to preventing the staining effect of black tea. Ensure that you brush thoroughly and regularly with a quality toothbrush. Additional flossing will also remove the plaque from the gaps between your teeth, preventing the brown stains occurring around the edges. Apart from thorough brushing, you should also rinse your mouth with water immediately after drinking tea to weaken the concentration of tannin.

These relatively simple tips will reduce the need to see your local dentist. By keeping vigilant about the build-up of plaque on your teeth, tartar will be unable to accumulate, denying the tannins in tea a place to settle. Your teeth will remain pearly white without the need to give up tea. 

For more information, contact a business such as Cambridge City Dental.