Nobody likes stained teeth. Our teeth are supposed to be white–that’s their healthy color, and their youthful color. Stained teeth can make your smile look old or unhealthy.

But we have a problem: we enjoy many things that can cause staining of our teeth, such as coffee or tea. Most of us can’t get our day started without a cup of one of these caffeine-containing beverages. Giving them up to prevent tooth staining seems like a huge sacrifice. The good news is that you don’t have to. Adding milk to your coffee or tea will reduce their tendency to stain your teeth.

How Milk Prevents Staining of Coffee and Tea

dreamstime_xs_21432586A recent study looked at the effects of milk on tooth staining from tea. Researchers tested several different solutions to determine what aspect of milk reduced the amount of staining. They tested a 2% milk, a skim milk, a solution of lactose, and a solution of casein. After soaking extracted teeth in the solution for 24 hours (we don’t soak our teeth in tea 24 hours, a day, though for some of us, it’s close), a spectrophotometer was used to determine the amount of staining.

They found that milk and the casein solution reduced the impact of tea on tooth discoloration. Teeth that were soaked in these solutions had significantly less staining.

Does It Have to Be Milk?

What if you don’t like milk in your coffee? Are there other ways to get casein and help prevent staining from coffee or tea?  If you don’t like milk, other dairy products contain casein, too, so you can put a pat of butter in your coffee instead, too. That doesn’t sound appealing? There are other options.

Casein is recognized as a very beneficial protein, so it’s now available as a dietary supplement at nutrition stores. Dissolving a small amount of casein in your coffee could help prevent staining as well as milk, and give many of the same health benefits (after all, casein accounts for 80% of proteins in cow’s milk). Casein is also added to most canned tuna, but that doesn’t sound good with your coffee, either, does it?

It’s worth noting that many people with milk allergies are actually allergic to casein, so talk to your doctor before trying to substitute casein in your diet.

Casein can only reduce the staining from tea and coffee, not stop it altogether. If you are unhappy with stained teeth, teeth whitening can eliminate stains. To learn whether teeth whitening in Beverly HIlls can improve your stains, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Ravon Knopf.