Do you love to have a cup of tea but worry about the effects it has on your teeth? As you know, tea is made up of wonderful compounds like antioxidants that can help reduce cancer risk, but it also contains tannins, which cause the bitter flavours in tea, and are also known to stain teeth.
For the 60 per cent of us drinking tea often, researchers have found a simple way to reduce teeth stains without having to give up our daily cuppa (or three).
Dr Ava Chow from the University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry came across this study by accident. Initially the goal was to inspire her undergraduate students to do more dental research in hygiene. Her students decided to focus on the effects of teeth staining, and the results were so good Dr Chow just had to share them with us in the Journal of Dentistry.
To conduct their study, the students used healthy, extracted human teeth and recorded the colours before the ‘staining process’ started. Teeth were divided into two sets to test the effects of staining.
The first set of teeth lay in a solution of tea and the second set was placed in a solution of tea with milk at body temperature. After 24 hours, Dr Chow analysed the colour of teeth from each set.
The results showed that tea combined with milk helped reduce the staining typically associated with tea.
“The magnitude of the colour change observed in our experiments is comparable to the colour change seen by vital bleaching products and more effective than whitening toothpastes,” said Dr Chow, as reported in the New Zealand Herald.
Dr Chow added, “The results we found showed that casein is the component of milk that is responsible for the reduction of tea-induced staining.”
If you have ever avoided drinking tea because of the potential effects on your teeth, all you need to do is add milk. But if you don’t enjoy a lot of milk, just a dash to your black tea will yield the same results. .
Is this good news for you? Do you worry about tea stained teeth?