Does Rooibos Tea Stain Teeth? Why and Which Rooibos to Avoid


Tea Facts /

Rooibos tea is certainly known for its many special health benefits …and of course for its nutty flavor.

But having your fill of rooibos tea does bring with it the question – does rooibos tea stain teeth? So I thought I’d answer this thoroughly for you in detail – but first, here’s the quick takeaway answer…

Does rooibos tea stain teeth? Rooibos tea does not stain teeth. Rooibos tea has zero caffeine, low tannin, low acid and does not produce catechins during processing. So rooibos tea avoids ingredients that stain teeth. If rooibos is mixed with caffeine extracts or black, green, or white tea then the caffeine could stain teeth.

Now you can rest in the knowledge that rooibos tea doesn’t stain teeth. But why? Well. there are plenty of reasons why and how rooibos tea manages not to stain teeth.

Why doesn’t rooibos tea stain teeth?

But one of the main reasons is simply that rooibos tea is not actually tea in the first place. Rooibos tea is a type of “Tisane”.

Tisane comes from a water-based infusion of flowers, leaves, herbs, roots, and spices. True tea comes from the amazing Camelia Sinensis plant.

Rooibos tea is a herbal tea made from the shrub Aspalathus linearis which is grown mainly in South Africa.

It‘s a plant-derived tea and not a true tea. In a nutshell, rooibos tea is a robust tasting herbal tisane …or herbal drink.

So in being a Tisane alone, Rooibos tea loses many elements and compositions of true tea. This also means that the elements that stain teeth are also missing from rooibos tea to a great extent. 

So let’s look at how rooibos tea can prevent teeth stains.

How rooibos tea prevents teeth stains 

When comparing the composition of staining elements in a regular tea and rooibos tea, Rooibos tea doesn’t have most of them – or has a very low concentration of teeth staining elements.

This includes elements like caffeine, acidity, antioxidants, catechins, and most importantly tannins. This is mainly how rooibos tea avoids teeth staining.

Apart from this, certain elements that are released by true tea varieties during tea processing contribute to teeth stains.

These elements are not released when rooibos tea is processed – as it doesn’t come from the organic tea plant (Camellia Sinensis).

This again helps in preventing teeth stains. 

how to make rooibos tea

Rooibos compositions avoid tea staining

The reason why rooibos tea prevents teeth stains comes from four main compositions in rooibos tea.

  • Zero-caffeine – caffeine is one of the primary ingredients that support teeth stains in both tea and coffee. This is apparent in many coffee addicts. In a 100g of brewed tea, there is 20 mg of caffeine. This is why some tea in general causes teeth stains.

    The greater the caffeine content in tea, the more potential for teeth stains. This is why some tea varieties cause different intensities of teeth stains. So with zero-caffeine content, rooibos tea successfully prevents possible teeth stains that can come from caffeine.
  • Tannins – Tannins are an element special to tea (oh, and wine) – and which organically causes teeth stains. Rooibos tea has a very low tannin content of 4.4 content.

    It’s when tannins break and build up on tooth enamel that teeth stains begin occurring. So with a low tannin content, rooibos tea yet again prevents teeth stains.
  • Catechins – Rooibos tea doesn’t contain any catechins. Catechins are a type of polyphenol. This prevents Rooibos tea from releasing super staining elements like theaflavins or thearubigins during the tea processing stage. This in turn means drinking Rooibos tea means much less chance of teeth stains.
  • Acidity – Acidity is another component that causes discoloration and staining in the teeth. Acidity in the long run causes teeth erosion. This is because the exposure of the teeth to acids wears away the enamel which protects the teeth causing erosion and intense discoloration.

    Thankfully, Rooibos tea also has low acid content which prevents it from staining teeth – or any damage to teeth.

When does rooibos tea stain teeth?

If you notice signs of teeth stains when consuming rooibos tea, it will be because of how they’re mixed.

When you buy rooibos tea, check on the ingredients and the nutrient profile in the package.

The only way caffeine can enter the nutrient profile of rooibos tea is because of later additions to the original rooibos tea. 

Caffeine is added to rooibos tea either as a caffeine extract or through mixing with black, white, or green tea, in which caffeine naturally occurs.

So if you regularly consume Rooibos tea mixed with any form of caffeine content, then you can expect some potential teeth stains.

Such additions are made to rooibos tea to cater to tea lovers who love the flavor of rooibos and expect a bit of a kick of caffeine that comes with true tea varieties. 

Also, I should point out that if such caffeine additions are made to Rooibos tea, then they should be explicitly stated on the package in the ingredients and nutritional profile, so make sure you check that when purchasing. 

You might also be interested in knowing what staining other teas can do…

Does green tea stain teeth?

Does herbal tea stain teeth?

Does peppermint tea stain teeth?

So finally

Hopefully, this has given you enough information to be confident that you can go ahead and enjoy your rooibos tea without fear of staining your teeth.

Be sure to check out my other articles, and my tea wares for my recommended products for budding te-heads!