Not too long ago, a group of students from the University of Illinois uncovered a truth about black tea: that it can help fight cavities. Americans love their coffee, but we all know that, worldwide, many people prefer having a cup of tea to having a cup of coffee. Now it seems that those tea-drinkers may, unknowingly, be protecting their pearly whites from a dreaded cavity invasion.
Another study, this one by Japanese scientists, has suggested that consumption of green tea helped to reduce dental cavities and improve oral hygiene.
Let’s explore the results of these studies.
What is the effect of black tea in your mouth?
- Black tea has been found to be able to suppress, or even kill, the plaque bacteria that produce harmful acids that weaken and destroy the teeth.
- Black tea targets a specific enzyme, glucosyltransferase, which is responsible for converting sugars into the sticky matrix material that makes plaque stick to the teeth.
- Black tea causes other types of bacteria in the mouth to lose their ability to combine with plaque, thereby lessening its buildup.
Both these discoveries confirm another Swedish study that concluded that there were beneficial results to be derived from rinsing the mouth with black tea for 30 seconds at some time during the day, because the tea prevented plaque buildup.
These dental benefits of drinking tea—whether black or green—can now be added to the list of tea’s many other favorable effects, like being a good source of antioxidants, helping to boost the immune system, lowering the blood pressure, preventing heart disease, fighting cancer, losing weight, and so forth.
So, next time you’re at your local barista’s, you might consider foregoing that “cappuccino grande” and asking her to make you a “chai”—a cup of tea—instead.
Please call our office at 510-796-1656 if you have any questions regarding this or any other topics.