Tea is terrific for teeth (and great for gums, too)

When deciding between the many drink options available, one of the best drinks for your oral health is brewed tea, according to a study in the July/August issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.

The study found that the effect of tea on tooth enamel was similar to that of water, which has no erosive effect. The study clearly showed that drinking brewed teas resulted in dramatically less enamel loss than drinking soft drinks and fruit juices.

Although this study used both green and black teas in testing, another recent study conducted in Japan found that green tea has added oral health benefits due to the natural antioxidant compounds called catechins that are in it.

This study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, focused on 940 Japanese men aged 49-59 who had some indications of gum (periodontal) disease such as bleeding or receding gums. Virtually all who drank a minimum of one cup of green tea each day showed improvement in gum recession and their gums bled less, too. The researchers suggested that the improvement was the result of catechins in the green tea that interfere with the inflammation that results from bacteria in the mouth.

With all the benefits of drinking tea (especially green tea), there’s no reason not to try it out. Just remember – don’t add sugar to your tea. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acids that eat away at the enamel of your teeth and irritate your gums. You should also avoid prepackaged, bottled iced teas because they contain citric acid (which can wear away tooth enamel) and high amounts of sugars.

Drink Brewed Tea to Avoid Tooth Erosion. Academy of General Dentistry
Relationship Between Intake of Green Tea and Periodontal Disease. Journal of Periodontology, Vol. 80, No. 3, 2009.
Last updated: February 2012

The oral health information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.

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