Theriot Family Dental

Brushing Before or After Tea to Keep Teeth White?

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I am about to have some teeth whitening done because of all the tea stains on my teeth. I don’t want to give up tea after that, but do want to maintain the whiteness as much as possible. What I need to know is if it is better to brush my teeth before of after I drink my tea. There is a lot of conflicting advice on this. For instance, one website says if I brush before drinking my tea, I am opening up the pores on my teeth, which will make them pick up stains quicker. However, another site says if I brush after, then I am damaging my teeth because of the acidic nature of tea. So, what the heck do I actually do to keep my teeth white?


Dear Patti,

teeth whitening trays
Teeth Whitening Trays

What a great question. Let’s start with the first bit of advice you were given. The idea that brushing your teeth opens up the “pores” on them is disinformation. There are tubules in your teeth but very few things open them up. One thing that will open them up is teeth whitening. So at least during that process, I would avoid drinking tea. The good news is they close in a few days after the whitening is completed, so you will not have to abstain too long, depending on the type of whitening procedure you choose.

The second bit of advice does have some truth in it, but there is a way around it. Tea is quite acidic. Brushing immediately after drinking means that you are grinding that acid into your tooth enamel. A simple way around this issue is to just take a moment and rinse out your mouth and teeth with some water before brushing. This will help to neutralize the acid.

Which Teeth Whitening Should You Choose?

Above, at the top of this blog post, I pictured teeth whitening trays that you would use with home whitening. This method could take weeks and if you are not too keen on giving up your tea that long, it is probably not the procedure you want to go with.

Patient under a zoom whitening light

Here is someone using an in-office procedure known as Zoom Whitening. This can whiten your teeth in just one dental appointment, allowing you to get back to your tea in just a few days.

I hope this helped.
This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. John Theriot.