The Shining Truth: Will Tea Stain My Retainer?

will tea stain my retainer

The short answer is: yes, tea can stain your retainer. But, there is a lot more for you to know about this topic! This includes how tea stains your retainer, what you can do to avoid it, and even how to possibly get your retainer back to its original condition.

When I wore braces over a decade ago, I used some of these tips to reduce the effects of tea staining my braces. Not a lot has changed since then!

So, let’s find out what we can actually do about it.

How Can Retainers Get Stained By Tea?


So, as mentioned, it is possible for tea to stain your retainer. So, why does this happen? Well, this is mostly due to tannins in the tea – the same component that gives tea its flavor and color.


There are other elements in tea such as theaflavins, theabrownins, and thearubigins can add to the staining process. It isn’t just your retainer that you need to worry about, though. Your teeth can yellow or turn brown when you continuously drink tea.

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Girl Holding A Tooth Brush and A Retainer

How to Prevent Staining


Now, the most obvious solution is to avoid drinking tea while your retainer is in. In fact, most dentists would advise you to stick to water when wearing your retainer. Otherwise, you could end up doing more damage to your teeth.


Then, what if you have permanent retainers in? What do you do then? In this case, there are a few solutions that you can try:

Drink Green or White Tea

While all true teas have tannins, the exact level can vary quite a bit. Black tea tends to have the most amount of tannins, while green tea and white have lower amounts. Even then, it can be tricky to figure out the exact composition.


For instance, low-quality teas tend to have more tannins in them. Thus, it may help to invest in higher quality teas. At the very least, this could help in reducing how much staining takes place.


If you enjoy your black tea as much as me though, and absolutely must have it, read on for more tips.

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Making a Weaker Cup of Tea

The darker the cup of tea that you make, the more tannins are in it. So, if you do enjoy black tea, brewing a weaker cup may do the trick. Of course, keep in mind that the more cups of tea that you drink, the higher the amount of tannins interacting with your retainer. So, it is a good idea to cut down on your overall consumption.

Adding Milk

Yes, that’s right – milk can help to combat the staining effect of tea! It appears that the casein found in cow’s milk inhibits specific actions of tea, cutting down on its impact on your retainer. So, adding a healthy dose to your cup could do the trick.

Rinsing Out Your Mouth

One of the simplest tricks that you can try is to rinse out your mouth after drinking your tea. Try to do this the moment that you have finished drinking your brew. This can prevent the stains from sticking to the retainer. Making a habit of this could help quite a bit.


This is something I always did anytime I ate or drank anything. And it sure helped.

Clean Your Retainer

It is important to clean your retainers at least once a day. Use a dedicated retainer brush and toothpaste to clean any debris or marks. Staying on top of cleaning your retainers can help to prevent the stains from setting in the first place.

Hands holding retainers and cleaning kit

How Do You Get Stains Out of Retainers?


OK, so the stains have found a home on your retainers – how do you get rid of them?


The best thing to do is to give them a deep clean. This is best done with proper retainer cleaning tablets as they have the best impact. While some people will use DIY products such as mouthwash, these can make the stains worse or even damage the retainers.


If you have permanent retainers, then you will probably need to visit your dentist to get rid of the stains. Avoid trying any whitening products as these can damage your retainers quite a bit.

So there you have it – everything that you need to know about tea staining your retainer and what you can do to avoid it! Follow these tips and you should be able to keep your retainer in excellent condition for longer!

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Dheena Sadik

Dr. Dheena Sadik

Consultant Nutritionist and Dietician

Author Bio

Dr. Dheena Sadik is a consultant Nutritionist and Dietician. She has over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. However, her love for tea began long before she understood the health benefits of tea. Growing up in Sri Lanka, Dheena had the privilege of being surrounded by the world-famous Ceylon tea. This is what got her started on her exploration of the various types of tea. She has now extensively tasted and examined teas from all over the world.

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