Could your daily cuppa be ruining your smile?

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Britain is a nation of tea aficionados, but our love affair with the nectar-like liquid could soon come to an end if image-conscious tea drinkers start putting their smiles first. Most of us know that drinking coffee can stain our teeth, but did you know that tea can actually be worse than coffee, as it contains more staining agents?

Most of us assume that tea is a healthier option than coffee, and when it comes to staining, it would seem logical that coffee would do more damage due to its darker colour. However, the unique complex of chemicals in tea can do more harm than coffee if you’re trying to maintain a pristine white smile. Tea contains acids, chromogens and tannins, which come together to form a pretty dangerous cocktail where the whiteness of the teeth is concerned.

Tannins, which are also found in wine, don’t actually stain the enamel, but they pave way for chromogens to do the job. Chromogens produce colours when they are exposed to air, and they are used in dyes. Although coffee contains both tannins and chromogens, the quantities are much lower than they are in tea.

If you are an avid tea drinker and you don’t want to suffer the staining consequences, dentists recommend using a straw or rinsing your mouth with water after drinking. It’s not all doom and gloom if you’re a tea fan. Studies have shown that both black and green tea can help to reduce the risk of gum disease.

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