Tea vs. Coffee: Which Is Worse for Your Teeth?

Published on August 8, 2017 | Dental Tips

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Most people know that coffee and tea can stain your teeth over time. But why do they stain your teeth, and which is worse?

Coffee and black tea contain acids, tannins and chromogens — the troublesome trio which allows stains to stick to your tooth enamel and turn your teeth yellow over time. Herbal teas are safer for teeth, as they are less rich in tannins and less likely to stain teeth.

Acids soften your tooth enamel, which expose the tissue underneath the enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to damage. Tannins are a plant-based compound that often bond to other substances, which encourage the other substances to stain. And chromogens, when oxidized, turn a deep, dark color.

Which Is Worse: Coffee or Tea?

As far as staining your teeth, tea is actually worse because it has a higher number of tannins. This is bad news for nearly half of Americans who drink tea every day — 80% of whom are drinking black tea.

Find out how much it’ll cost you to get your teeth whitened >

Sugar in Coffee and Tea

Added sugar is another detrimental factor to coffee and tea. 65% of coffee drinkers add sugar to their morning and afternoon pick-me-ups, which is a big contributor to cavities and tooth decay.

If you add sugar to your coffee or tea, you can expect the same damaging effects on your teeth.

The Effects of Caffeine

If that’s not enough, caffeine can also cause dehydration and dry mouth. Dry mouth is a contributing factor to tooth decay and gum disease, as saliva is a natural cleanser which helps wash away bacteria and acid in the mouth.

What About Red Wine?

A survey of over 1,000 Americans showed that over half drank a glass of wine on a daily or several-days-a-week basis.

But red wine has a similar effect on your teeth, as it contains chromogens, tannins and lots of acid.

With all three of these common staples of the American diet, the higher the frequency in which you drink these beverages, the more severe the staining.

If you want to keep your white smile and curb the staining effect of your favorite beverages, try and reduce your coffee, tea and red wine intake.

Limiting add-ins like sugar and brushing your teeth after you drink these beverages can also make a big difference in fighting off stains and tooth decay.

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Brought to you by Access Dental. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. You should always consult a licensed professional when making decisions concerning dental care. Add: #2017-44379 (exp. 8/19).

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