Is Drinking Tea Bad For Your Teeth? Yes And No!

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Tea is an ancient drink surrounded by tradition. It’s been around for thousands of years and was used in many healing rituals. However, tea does have a dark side. There are plenty of whole-body health effects of tea, but the effects they have on teeth aren’t consistently god or bad. It’s a little messy.

Drinking tea is good and bad for your teeth. Black and green teas have Fluoride, which can prevent tooth decay, protect your enamel, and strengthen your teeth. However, the tannins and additives found in tea can stain and erode your teeth. Brush your teeth 30 min after drinking to avoid stains.

Tooth erosion sounds scary, doesn’t it? Well, don’t put down your matcha just yet. Tea has incredible benefits and, in moderation, it can be great for you. You can get the health benefits of tea without having to worry about any negative effects on your teeth, and if you don’t want to take the time to brush in the middle of the day, rinsing with water can get you a lot of the positive effects of brushing quickly.

How Does Tea Affect Your Teeth?

Attractive woman drinking tea

Tea has been around for centuries. In fact, researchers believe tea got its start in China sometime in 2700 BC. So, something this ancient and long used has to be good for us, right? The answer might surprise you.

Benefits of Drinking Tea for Your Teeth

As mentioned earlier, black teas like the classic Earl Grey (on Amazon) as well as the more traditional green tea (also on Amazon) contain Fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral found in water, most foods, and even toothpaste. This mineral can help prevent tooth decay, protect your enamel, and strengthen your teeth.

Tea also contains micronutrients known as Polyphenols. Polyphenols reduce gum inflammation and ward off disease. Additionally, these micronutrients can kill oral bacteria, preventing bad breath.

The benefits of tea don’t stop there. Teas are rich in antioxidants which have fantastic health benefits. Antioxidants can protect your body from illness, cell damage, cancers, and more.

All of these positives aside, there are still some downsides to drinking tea. So, how exactly can this drink damage your teeth?

How Drinking Tea Can Damage Your Teeth

As mentioned earlier, tea can still damage your teeth. Although this drink is relatively healthy and safe, there are still some risks to be aware of.

Tannin Stains

Tannins are a natural substance found in plants. Tea gets its brownish hue from tannins. However, tannins can stain your teeth over time. These stains result in an unpleasant yellow exterior.

To avoid stains, rinse your mouth out after drinking. You should brush your teeth 30 minutes after drinking, too.

Additives Can Erode Teeth Enamel

Adding sugar, lemon, and even honey to tea can damage your tooth’s enamel. Beverages with high acidity can weaken, soften, and erode teeth enamel.

This weakening can cause sensitive teeth and cavities. For those reasons, it’s best to use additives in moderation.

Caffeine Dehydration

Caffeine found in black and green teas can pose a threat to your teeth’ health. Caffeine can dehydrate your mouth, reducing your saliva production. With less saliva production, your teeth are at a much higher risk of damage and decay.

Should You Cut Out Tea Altogether?

Attractive woman drinking tea sitting on her bed

So, is the proverbial juice worth the squeeze? The short answer: yes and no! Tea has excellent benefits for oral health, including preventing tooth decay, protecting your enamel, and strengthening your teeth.

On top of that, the antioxidants found in teas can ward off illness, disease, heart complications, and more. However, tea can pose a risk to your oral health.

The tannins found in tea can stain your teeth, resulting in an unsightly yellow hue. Additionally, frequently adding sugar and lemon to your tea can damage and erode your enamel.

Deciding whether or not to drink tea will come down to personal preference. Practicing moderation and mindfulness can ward off most of the negatives found in tea. Be sure to brush your teeth regularly, use a straw, and avoid additives for the best results.

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