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A new study suggests that adding milk to your tea may prevent staining.

We all know that dark-colored drinks such as tea and coffee can wreak havoc on the aesthetic of our teeth. But a new study published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene suggests that adding milk to your tea may reduce the staining effects.

According to lead author, Dr. Ava Chow from the Alberta University School of Dentistry, the way in which tea is processed is what leads to staining.

In order to test her theory, Dr. Chow and her research team put one set of extracted human teeth in a tea solution and another set in a tea solution with milk added.

They made sure to record the shades of the teeth before the trial. The teeth were left in both solutions for a 24-hour period at a temperature of 37 degrees. Then, they re-recorded the shades of both sets of teeth.

While conducting the study, the research team found that casein (a protein found in milk) binds to the tannins in tea. This is what prevents them from staining the teeth.

According to Dr. Chow, the results were comparable to using bleaching products. However, it emphasized the need for cultural variations when recommending adding milk to tea. Some cultures are accustomed to their tea being taken with milk, but many other cultures are less so.

Source: Cosmetic Dentistry Guide, UK