Dental health is important to all of us. We buy special toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss and rinsing agents to help ensure that our smile is white, our teeth are cavity free and our breath is fresh. But, did you know that drinking tea may be one of the best (and simplest) things you can do to protect your teeth?
Well, it’s true. Tea has been shown to offer protection to our teeth. Tea is a natural source of fluoride, which is known to protect against tooth decay. Thisis great news for children, who need significant amounts of fluoride in order for tooth enamel to harden properly. When teeth harden properly in our youth, it protects us from cavities throughout our lives.
However, even for adults, whose teeth are fully formed, tea’s fluoride is a great way to protect your teeth. The fluoride found in tea has been shown to inhibit the growth of glucosyltransferase. This substance helps the plaque that naturally forms to adhere to our teeth.
Dentists in the UK have also reported that black tea disables certain forms of bacteria that work with sugars to form clumpy aggregates that stick to teeth. These dentists believe that drinking black tea reduces the total mass of dental plaque.
In addition, one study has suggested that green tea may inhibit the enzyme that causes plaque to form in the first place. Plaque is formed when an enzyme in your mouth mixes with sugar in the food you eat.
This study, reported by the UK Tea Council, looked at a sweet drink offered by a gourmet coffee house. This drink included sugar and whipped cream, but also included green tea. When the teeth of those who consumed this beverage were evaluated and compared to those who consumed heavily sweetened drinks that did not include green tea, the results were significant.
Even when the participants consumed the same amount of sugar, those whose drinks contained green tea did not have the same amount of plaque formation as those whose drinks were made with something other than green tea, leading researchers to conclude that green tea has a cleansing effect on the teeth.
And, for those of us concerned about bad breath, green tea may have good news, as well. Green tea also inhibits the growth of many of the bacteria that cause bad breath. So, drinking green tea on a regular basis may help keep your breath naturally sweet.
Not getting your daily dose of tea? Here are some simple ways to increase the amount of tea you’re getting each day.
Wind down in the evening. Many people avoid tea in the evening, because they fear the caffeine will inhibit sleep. However, both black and green teas are lower in caffeine than coffee, with green tea having less caffeine than black. In addition, the caffeine in tea doesn’t seem to cause jitters the way coffee and soda can. So, tea is a great way to wind down in the evening, most likely without interrupting your sleep.
If you’re wondering whether you should be drinking green tea or black tea, you’re asking a good question. Both are healthy, but there are significant differences between the two.
Black tea is fermented during processing, which changes the natural anti-oxidant compounds. While black tea does contain anti-oxidants, and does offer many healthful benefits, those natural, unfermented anti-oxidant compounds in green tea are healthier.
Research has shown over and over that green tea’s anti-oxidants have significant power to protect health. Green tea has been shown to prevent cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease and to help reduce premature aging.
So, while black tea is definitely good for you, and is protective to your teeth, for the maximum overall health benefits, get your daily dose of green tea. Many scientists today suggest that for the maximum benefit to your dental health, you combine the two. Both are delicious and refreshing, making a wonderful drink any time of day. It may be one of the simplest ways you can protect your health – and your smile.