Oral Health and Genetic Risk Factors

Can Herbal Teas Whiten Your Teeth?

If you're looking for alternative ways to whiten your teeth, you may have heard that herbal teas can help. These kinds of teas may help you manage staining; some may actually help whiten your teeth. How do herbal teas affect the colour of your teeth and how effective will they be?

Herbal Teas and Staining

If you drink regular black tea or coffee, your teeth may become stained and discoloured. For example, the tannin in black tea may leave unsightly brown stains on your teeth over time, especially if you drink a lot of cuppas during the day.

This kind of staining is not an issue with herbal teas. These kinds of teas typically don't contain any black tea and therefore have no tannin content. If you switch from drinking regular tea to a herbal variety, you'll reduce the amount of staining you get on your teeth. Stains cover up the natural colour of your teeth, so if you can eliminate the root causes of staining by switching to herbal tea varieties, you may be able to keep your teeth looking whiter more naturally.

Tip: Some herbal teas use a black tea base with a herbal ingredient or flavouring. To avoid tea staining, it's best to avoid these products and look for pure herbal teas that don't contain any black tea.

Herbal Teas and Bleaching

While some of the herbs and fruits used to make herbal teas may be considered to help keep teeth looking whiter, these benefits may not be easily transferred when you take the herbs in a tea. For example, sage leaves have traditionally been used in some cultures to whiten teeth. Typically, it's the rubbing of the leaves on the teeth that helps abrade away plaque and stains to make teeth appear whiter; drinking a sage tea may not have the same effect as you won't get any abrasion.

However, you may experience some whitening effects if you drink a lemon tea, especially if you brew your own mixture out of lemon juice and hot water. Lemon juice has a bleaching effect on the teeth. Lemon also makes your saliva flow. This saliva may help clean plaque and surface debris off your teeth, making them look cleaner.

Herbal Teas on Teeth Whitening

While switching to herbal teas may reduce staining on your teeth, it typically won't do anything for existing stains. Lemon tea may have some minor whitening effects; however, these effects may come with some disadvantages.

For example, if you regularly use lemon juice to make a tea or drink a commercial lemon tea, you run the risk of exposing your teeth to acids that might erode away your teeth's enamel. This kind of damage is irreversible and should be avoided.

If you've been a regular black tea drinker, it may be worth talking to your dentist about having a clean and polish to get rid of any existing staining. Drinking herbal teas that don't stain from that point may keep your teeth looking whiter than if you drink black tea. If you want to achieve a brighter whiteness that won't damage your enamel, your dentist will also be able to suggest whitening treatments that may be more effective than teas.