New research published in the British Nutrition Foundation’s bulletin suggests that drinking tea can help keep your teeth in good condition and avoid dreaded tooth decay. A review of existing studies revealed that black tea combats the Streptococcus and Lactobacillus bacteria that are associated with tooth decay and gum disease; scientists found that the most effective ‘dose’ of tea was between three and four cups a day. It seems that green tea also has a similar effect, preventing bad breath by neutralising sulphur compounds that contribute to the condition.
Lead researcher Dr Carrie Ruxton said that tea helped to reduce bacteria levels in the mouth and she said that ‘I’m sure this news is set to be welcomed by dentists and hygienists alike as they continue to educate the nation on the need for greater oral care.’
According to the study, black and green teas reduce inflammation of the gum tissue and prevent bacteria from adhering to the tooth surface – where it can cause bad breath and decay as the enamel is dissolved. The antioxidant ingredients have an anti-microbial effect that stops bacteria linked with periodontal disease from sticking to the teeth.
Dr Tim Bond, spokesperson for the Tea Advisory Panel said that the traditional beverage has many benefits, including the ‘potential for reducing the risk of dental caries’. He also added that ‘British people should continue to enjoy their traditional lifelong habit of drinking tea to help enjoy the many proven and emerging health benefits.’