Is Drinking Tea Harmful or Good for Teeth?

Recent studies have indicated that drinking tea may be a good way to keep our teeth healthy. It has been discovered that compounds found in black tea may attack harmful bacteria in the mouth that cause gum disease and cavities.

However, the results of new study indicate that drinking herbal tea may damage teeth by eroding enamel.

Some are even more harmful than orange juice, which is very acidic and is known to harm teeth, if it is taken in large amounts. The researchers said the findings should act as a warning to people who regard herbal teas as a healthy alternative to other drinks in order to lose weight.

The study found that while some of the herbal teas had high pH levels, indicating that they are alkaline and do not damage teeth, many of the teas tested had low pH levels, which means that they are acidic and can damage teeth surface.

Drinking herbal tea may damage teeth, dentists have warned about the consequence to drinking herbal tea in excess. Researchers at the University of Bristol Dental School have found these teas erode the enamel or protective layers on teeth.

Researchers analyzed the erosive potential of a variety of herbal teas by measuring their pH levels, which shows whether a substance is acid or alkaline. Acidic substances are known to damage teeth. The ability of the herbal teas to erode enamel was also measured. Enamel is the hard, white, outer layer of the tooth.

Sugared and acid soft drinks have been implicated in causing dental caries and erosion due to high sugar content. Unfortunately, they are popular, heavily advertised, and consumed in large quantities by adolescents in particular. Water is an excellent drink; it’s good for health as well easily available drink.

Milk is desirable due its nutritive value and high calcium content which makes the teeth strong. It is safe for teeth, as long as sugar is not added. Tea and coffee have also been recommended as satisfactory drinks from the dental viewpoint, again, as long as no sugar is added. There has been research on and off over 50 years on the anti-carcinogenic properties of tea but, until now, we have been ignorant of the acidity of tea and its chances to erode the tooth surface.

Although tea is acid, it is very weak acid and contains only about 1% of the amount of citric acid found in fruit juice. They found that the fall in pH at the surface of teeth of young adult volunteers was small and brief, and unlikely to cause dental erosion. That is good news.

Studies at the University Of Illinois College Of Dentistry have shown that compounds in black tea can destroy or suppress growth and acid production of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque. Black tea also affects an enzyme responsible for converting sugars into the sticky material that plaque uses to adhere to teeth. Furthermore, upon exposure to black tea, the Illinois researchers learned that certain plaque bacteria lose their ability to adhere to others, thereby reducing the total amount of dental plaque that forms on teeth.

They also found that rinsing with black tea for 30 seconds, five times in a row (in three-minute intervals), stops plaque bacteria from growing and producing the acid that breaks down teeth and causes cavities, although it might stain your teeth if you do this frequently (white tea is much less likely to cause this problem.) In addition, tea contains fluoride, which may further explain why it helps protect teeth.

White tea works better than black tea to promote oral health; it would be a pretty costly mouthwash. Although widely available in the United States now, it can be more expensive than other types of tea.

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