Q: I started drinking black tea, as you've recommended, but it stained my teeth! I was able to remove the stains with whitening strips. How can I keep drinking black tea without staining my teeth?
-- Laurel, via e-mail
A: Having pearly white teeth is like wearing great black jeans: You know they make you look good. Likewise, tea makes you feel good -- relaxed and attentive. And it contains polysaccharides, chemicals that stabilize your blood sugar, helping you avoid Ho-Ho binges. But, yes, black tea can stain teeth. The tannin in it transfers to tooth enamel. (Green tea stains, too, though not as much.) If you love the comfort and health benefits of tea, do the following:
For good oral health, you need fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss, and an antiseptic or anti-microbial mouth rinse. The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth at least twice daily with short back...-and-forth motions, not vigorous scrubbing. More