Keeping Your Mouth Clean And Comfortable As A Tea Drinker

5 January 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

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Strong teas such as black teas are a wonderful way to stay awake and comfortable through the day. Depending on how much sweetener you use for your caffeinated pick-me-up, there may be a lot of plaque and tooth staining to ruin your mouth. Consider a few mouth-freshening habits for tea drinkers to slow down tooth staining and keep your breath pleasant without giving up on your daily cups of tea.

Know The Cause Of Persistent Stains

Tea contains tannins, which are responsible for giving tea its color. Tannins are used for many artistic stain designs, and tea itself is valuable for staining color hues used in many works of art. Unfortunately, the white of your teeth is a perfect canvas for tannin to perform a less appreciated work of art.

Fortunately, tannins take a long time to stain teeth. If you're drinking tea without sweeteners, your teeth may stain very slowly over the course of a few months. Deep, permanent staining problems can happen across a few years, but you should be visiting a dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning to slow that down.

If you're drinking tea with sweeteners or have sweets with your tea, you've created a different, faster staining problem. Plaque absorbs tannins and can bind against teeth as it dries, creating a much more disgusting stain streaking.

As you drink or eat more sweets with your tea, the bacteria is fed more, produces more waste and reproduces more. With more plaque absoring tannins, your staining can become very noticeable within a few months.

Decreasing Plaque Count With An Altered Habit

You don't need to put down the tea permanently to reduce tooth staining. Instead, change your drinking habits to include drinks that aren't as heavy in staining compounds or sweeteners.

The most basic drink choice would be water. By drinking water, you'll wash away a lot of the accumulated plaque while still enjoying a drink. Although you won't be able to get rid of all of the plaque, your mouth will be significantly more clean.

If you'd like more flavor than just water, sparkling water with low sweetener content is acceptable. Switching to green tea for a taste can help as well, although there are still some compounds in green tea that can feed bacteria. 

Some teas may be high in acid content, so don't brush immediately after having tea as it may weaken the enamel. Use mouth wash, then wait at least half an hour before brushing. Such techniques may be a bit overkill for tea's acid content, but since everyone's mouth is different, it's better to err on the side of caution.

Dentists can help you build a cleaning plan for your drinking habits and specific mouth environment.