Milk Helps You Get Benefits of Tea without Staining

Apr 15, 2015, by Dr. Becky Coats

Tea with MilkWe’ve talked about the oral health benefits of tea, but there’s a problem with it. Tea, especially green tea, is capable of causing significant staining of our teeth. So how can we get the benefits of tea for our teeth without the staining? Milk is one way. Adding milk to your tea will reduce the staining effects.

How Milk Prevents Staining of Tea

Researchers recently looked at the effects of milk on tooth staining from tea. They tested several different milk variants and related solutions to determine both how effective milk was on reducing stains and what ingredient in milk is responsible for reducing the impact of staining. They soaked extracted teeth in tea or tea with:

  • 2% milk
  • Skim milk
  • Lactose solution
  • Casein solution

After soaking for 24 hours, they tested the staining on the teeth. They didn’t use a shade guide like we will use sometimes in our office–a technique where we compare your teeth to samples of different colors–they used a spectrophotometer, which measures the light reflected off the tooth, which is how our eyes perceive color.

The results showed that milk was effective at reducing the staining related to tea, as was the casein solution, which is why researchers concluded that casein was the primary ingredient responsible for the whitening impact.

If You Don’t Like Milk in Your Tea

Although Brits and many other people around the world regularly put milk in their tea, most Americans don’t. So how can you get the whitening benefits without milk? You can try other dairy products, like butter. This is actually how they drink their tea in Tibet, although they use yak’s butter, which, I’m sure, tastes much better in tea. Or you can try ice cream, which beats the heck out of those flavored non-dairy creamers.

But if you want to avoid the extra calories in milk, ice cream, or butter, you can just dissolve some casein in your tea. Casein is recognized as a very healthy protein, and it’s available as a supplement in many health stores or even the health aisle at your grocery store.

This can help if you’re lactose intolerant, but it likely won’t help if you’re allergic to milk. Most people who are allergic to milk are allergic to casein.

But even with casein tea does stain teeth to some extent. If your teeth have become discolored because of your tea habit, teeth whitening can help.

And we can even help when your teeth won't whiten. Please call (817) 481-6888 today for an appointment with a Grapevine cosmetic dentist at Grapevine Dental Care today.