Are Tannins Bad for You?

a cup of black tea

You may not be familiar with the term “tannins” unless you’re an avid wine drinker or chemist. We come across them in dentistry because they’re sometimes behind the stains that our patients want to get rid of with teeth whitening. We go over the basics about tannins and whether or not they’re bad or good for you.

What Are Tannins?

Tannins are a naturally produced compound. Plants actually use tannin as a defense mechanism against being eaten. They’re found in a number of different foods and beverages like wine, tea, cocoa, chocolate, cheese, and nuts. The commons words to describe the taste of tannins are “bitter,” “puckery,” and “drying.”

So Are They Good or Bad?

Depends what perspective you take. Some people don’t like tannins because they’re irritated by their astringency. If you’ve ever eaten berries and had that dry, tightening feeling your mouth that is the astringency working. Others don’t like tannins because they dislike the bitter or fuzzy taste they leave. Some people even experience headaches from consuming food with tannins.

On the flip side, some tannins are beneficial antioxidants and have been shown to help cardiovascular health. Studies show that they can prevent cellular damage too.

When it comes to your smile and dental health, tannins are a bit of a mixed bag. They can help get rid of bacteria in your mouth and fight cavities. At the same time, they can also stain teeth. In fact, tannins are one of the main factors responsible for tooth stains because they help chromogens better stick to enamel.

The fact of the matter is that different people have different reactions to tannins. Whether or not you consume them is up to your own personal food preferences and priorities when it comes to your smile!

If you’d like more information or if you’re interested in fixing stains left by tannins with teeth whitening, contact Dublin Corners Dental!

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