Expert: Dr Steven Soo, dental specialist in Prosthodontics with Specialist Dental Group
Milk in tea helps prevent staining to some extent.
“Recent research has shown that drinking tea with milk does have less staining effects on teeth, as compared to drinking tea without milk,” says Dr Soo. This is because milk contains a protein called casein, which binds to the tannins found in tea, the compound primarily responsible for teeth staining. “However, you should not rush to consume excessive amounts of milk tea in the hope of having your teeth whitened drastically. The whitening effects from drinking milk tea are definitely less than what you can derive from conventional teeth-whitening treatments,” he adds.
The effect only works with animal milk.
“Casein is only found in milk from mammals, such as cows and goats. So drinking tea with all types of animal milk can help prevent your teeth from becoming stained,” notes Dr Soo.
Brush your teeth after drinking tea.
“Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal, just wait for at least 30 to 45 minutes before doing so. When you consume food containing sugar, the bacteria in your mouth interacts with the sugar to form acids, which attack your tooth enamel. So brushing your teeth immediately after consuming tea might actually damage your enamel.”
Drinking from a straw reduces staining, too.
“This reduces direct contact between the beverage and your teeth,” explains Dr Soo. “You should also avoid holding or swirling the beverage in your mouth for extended periods of time.”