Does Herbal Tea Stain Teeth? Which Ones, How to Avoid It


Tea Facts /

Herbal tea is continuing to become a new trend in the tea market. From the varieties of amazing flavor to enormous health benefits, herbal tea has often become a worthy substitute for other beverages… And does herbal tea stain teeth is actually a fairly common question.

This article will provide a clearer guide on does herbal tea stain teeth as well as some related herbal tea details. But first, here’s the quick takeaway answer, then we’ll get into the details…

Does Herbal Tea Stain Teeth? Whether herbal tea stains teeth largely depends on the type of herbal tea. Most herbal teas do not stain teeth as they are “Tisanes” and not a true tea variety. However, the greater the acidic and tannin content in the tisane, and it’s strength, the greater potential for it to stain teeth.

So that’s the quick answer, but let’s tackle the question in more depth.

Does herbal tea stain teeth?

To begin with, herbal tea only inherits the word “tea”, but do not originate from the true tea variety.

Herbal tea is called a “Tisane”. This is because any true form of tea varieties comes from the one and only “Camellia sinensis” plant.

Herbal tea is any other (other than Camellia sinensis) plant-derived, herbs, shrubs, flower, seeds, roots, and fruit-infused teas.

This is why herbal tea is sometimes called “infused tea” or “botanical tea”. So this clear distinction makes it easier to understand that most of the elements that come from true varieties – and that promote teeth stains are removed from herbal tea.

Therefore in general even if any types of herbal tea do cause teeth stains, it’s very unlikely to be as intense as regular tea stains that come from black, green tea, white tea, yellow tea, or other teas.

As a general guide, most herbal teas don’t stain teeth. But there are a few exceptions to which type of herbal teas can cause teeth stains when consumed regularly.

Some herbal teas can stain teeth – depending on several factors – such as the acidity of herbal tea type, and how the tea is made regarding strength and tannins present.

It’s also said that the naturally sweet, fruit or flower-infused herbal teas tend to have a greater potential for staining teeth.

And to name a few, many believe that chamomile and hibiscus herbal teas do cause teeth stains when regularly consumed. 

How different varieties of herbal teas cause and prevent teeth stains

There are certain special properties in tea that cause teeth stains. These properties tend to be missing or have a low composition in many herbal teas.

This is one of the main reasons why many herbal tea varieties don’t stain teeth.

On the other hand, some of the staining properties that exist in herbal tea will have less potential to cause teeth stains.

Alongside these, less potential staining elements can be intensified to cause teeth staining in the way that herbal tea is prepared.

Apart from this, the quality of the leaves or any other plant material used for making herbal tea tends to affect the potential of causing teeth stains.

The more fresh and organic the quality of the tea is, the less potential for the herbal tea to cause teeth stains.

Also, if any forms of actual tea varieties – such as black, green, or white tea are added to the herbal tea it can cause teeth stains.

herbal tea varieties
herbal tea varieties

Why different varieties of herbal teas cause and prevent teeth stains

There are a few elements and properties in herbal tea that can cause teeth stains.

Starting with caffeine, tannins, catechins, and acidity, the greater the composition of these elements in herbal tea – the more likely it is to cause teeth stains.

And on the subject of caffeine, many herbal teas are in fact, caffeine-free.

Tannins and catechins tend to be in the range of very low to neutral in most herbal teas. These neutral ranges of tannins and catechins can be intensified and increased to cause teeth stains …. which depends on how the tea is made.

“There are a few elements and properties in herbal tea
that can cause teeth stains”

Depending on how herbal tea components like the leaves and other plant materials are processed, there are possibilities for releasing some staining elements.

And depending on how intense the composition of these staining elements is, determines if teeth will stain and to what degree.

In true tea varieties during processing, most of these staining elements are released, thereby contributing to teeth stains.

Acidity in herbal teas and teeth stains

Why teeth can stain because of herbal tea comes mainly from the acid composition – or in scientific terms the pH level in teas.

The more acidic the herbal tea …is the more chance of teeth staining. And it doesn’t stop there – long term acidic exposure to teeth through herbal teas …or any other acidic food or beverage for that matter can also cause teeth erosion and decay. 

When acid in herbal tea comes in contact with the teeth, it causes the enamel of the teeth to weaken – over time – causing discoloration, dull colors, and of course, the stains.

In the long run, more acid exposure is likely to wear off the enamel causing teeth erosion.

So how much is too much?

Well, acid levels in teas are matched against pH levels. Anything below the range of 3 is considered very acidic and can cause teeth stains and – eventually – serious teeth damage.

Below is a small breakdown of some common herbal teas and their pH levels. Remember, the lower the number, the greater extent of staining and further tea damage.

Teas and Herbal TeaspH Level
Green Tea7-10
Black Tea6-7
Chamomile6-7
Mint6-7
Fennel6-7
Lemon3
Rosehip2-3
Blackberry2-3

Apart from these, many fruit-based herbal teas are said to be more acidic and can cause teeth stains.

On the other hand, the following can increase the chances of certain herbal teas to increase their pH levels, meaning-making them more acidic.

  • How long you steep the tea – it is believed that the darker the color of the tea, the more concentrated it is and therefore potentially more acidic. 
  • How diluted the tea is – for neutral pH level teas, it’s always best to dilute them as much as possible within your preference. 
  • Additives – like citrus flavoring and herbs that have acid content can easily increase the acidic composition of herbal tea. 
  • Sourness – the more sour the tea is, the more acidic it is.

This is more applicable to herbal teas that are in the neutral range, as they can easily become acidic and cause teeth stains.

Tip – dilute your herbal tea to bring it closer to a neutral pH level. This will avoid it from becoming too acidic. Also, try adding a dash of raw milk, this can reduce the acidity. 

Tannins in herbal teas and teeth stains

Tannins are present in most herbal teas but much less than in tea, so they contribute to and impact less in causing teeth stains.

However, when consumed regularly, herbal teas with high tannin content can cause teeth stains. Below are some herbal teas that contain high amounts of tannins.

  • Hibiscus
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Guarana
  • Nettles
  • Peppermint
  • Red raspberry
  • Rosehip
  • Sage
  • Slippery elm
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Yerba mate

Rooibos is said to be the herbal tea with the lowest tannins (however we have little scientific evidence for this) but is known to have a very rare occurrence of teeth stains.

herbal tea

Does green tea stain teeth?

Does Rooibos tea stain teeth?

Does peppermint tea stain teeth?

How to prevent teeth stains from herbal teas

There is no one true way to prevent teeth stains from herbal teas. Other than not drink Herbal Teas, the best thing you can do is dilute – or add any base liquid to any acidic herbal teas. 

Secondly, good teeth hygiene such as brushing after a cup of herbal tea and flossing daily can avoid teeth stains from herbal teas. 

These simple steps, when combined daily, can – to a greater extent avoid teeth stains from herbal teas …because herbal tea teeth stains are not as intense or stubborn as regular black, white, green, or other tea teeth stains. 

If you still feel the stains are not going away, one can go for a professional teeth whitening treatment. However, such treatment would, of course, need to be an ongoing regime.

Read 100 quick facts about tea for more awesome tea insights!

To close

So there you have it, the answer to does herbal teeth stain teeth! All things in moderation I say, which is why I take time to select the right equipment for the job, so if you’re a tea head like me, then see my tea-wares page!