One of the most consumed beverages in the world, tea comes in many varieties—oolong, black, pu-erh and green being the most popular ones.
While each type of tea is processed differently to provide varying tastes, colors, and aromas, the one that comes from the Camellia sinensis (or green tea) plant provides the maximum protection to the gums and teeth. The antioxidant properties of tea along with other compounds present in it could be responsible for its health benefits. In fact, tea could be a safer alternative to fight cavities than fluoride.
How Tea Protects Against Tooth Cavities
One of the major culprits for tooth erosion and cavities worldwide is soda consumption. An average serving of soda contains approximately 17 teaspoon of refined sugar. Soda also contains high amounts of the erosive citric acid, a preservative that could damage the teeth more than battery acid.
Tea has the exact opposite effect on teeth. A study that looked at the erosive effects of tea on teeth found it similar to clean, distilled water. In other words, it had no erosive effect at all. In fact, the antioxidants present in tea might protect the gums and teeth from oxidative damage. It’s important to note here that the studies used unsweetened tea.
If you like to add lemon, sugar and/or milk to your tea, think again! Sugar and acid, regardless of the source, can cause tooth decay and the development of cavities. Instead, brew hot or iced unsweetened tea at home with loose, organic tea leaves. Refrain from using prepackaged tea bags as they usually contain citric acid as a preservative. However, if you’re a tea lover, we’d advise you to have it through a straw to minimize staining due to long-term tea consumption.
Other Tips To Avoid Cavities
- Avoiding sugar and acidic foods (junk foods) is the best practice you can follow to protect against tooth erosion.
- Vitamin D is important for strong and healthy teeth. Get adequate morning sunshine. If you stay mostly indoors, you could take a vitamin D supplement.
- Oil pulling is another way to kill micro-organisms in the mouth and prevent tooth cavities.
1. Academy of General Dentistry. Drink Brewed Tea To Avoid Tooth Erosion, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2008.
2. Goenka P, Sarawgi A, Karun V, Nigam AG, Dutta S, Marwah N. Camellia sinensis (Tea): Implications and role in preventing dental decay. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2013;7(14):152-156. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.120515.