Drinking tea for oral health


Tea is the second most frequently consumed liquid on Earth. People drink an estimated 3 billion cups worldwide a day.


For thousands of years, it’s been an important part of many cultures. People always contributed beneficial effects to it and modern science recently proved many of those benefits.


Tea is used in various forms, black, green, white, oolong, and many more, and these are all the same plant Camellia sinensis in differently processed forms. Drinking tea is considered a very safe, enjoyable, and healthy habit.


There are numerous plant compounds found in tea leaves that have potential positive health implications. Amino acids like L-theanine, peptides, enzymes, caffeine, polyphenols, antioxidants, tannins, and several others. It’s been researched for a long time and the scientific evidence seems to be consequently similar.


One of the beneficial groups of polyphenols is called catechins. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the one present in the highest amount in green or black tea.


Regular tea consumption is proven to decrease the risks of several common diseases. Such as cancer, cardiovascular problems, chronic inflammation, arthritis. EGCG is known to induce apoptosis (a programmed cell-death mechanism) in various types of tumor cells but has little or no effect on normal cells.


Although the benefits on health are broad, in this article the focus is on oral health.


Drinking green tea regularly seems to help to prevent the most common oral diseases, dental caries (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and halitosis (bad breath).

Dental caries is among the most prevalent condition on Earth. It’s a multi-factorial disease, where diet, habits, and microorganism imbalances (= dysbiosis of the oral microbiome ) play a critical role.


Compounds in tea are capable of killing or suppressing the growth of cavity-causing bacteria like S. mutans in plaque. The bacterium is considered a major factor in developing tooth decay when sugar and starchy carbohydrates are frequently available as food and plaque building material.


Tea also affects bacterial enzyme glucosyltransferase. This enzyme is responsible for turning sugar into matrix materials that make plaque sticky. The British Dental Association published that both black and green tea could help to combat the build-up of plaque.


Tea consumption is also considered a good alternative to soft drinks because it has a low erosive effect just like water  (none). The increasing consumption of fizzy drinks/ soda is causing huge damage to the dental health of certain population groups, mostly adolescents.


Tea contains fluoride, especially green tea, which is known to have an important role in healthy teeth development. Some scientists suggested that fluoride in green tea may have a role in increasing the anti-caries action along with other components in tea. However, the action of fluoride does not seem to be the key factor. In studies where it was removed from tea, the benefits persisted.

Gum disease, or in a more severe stage periodontal disease (perio=around, dontal=teeth) is clinically a chronic inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissues. It's mainly caused by dysbioses of the microbiota and other immune factors in the presence of plaque.


Green tea catechins inhibit the growth of certain bacteria of P. gingivalis, P. intermedia and P. nigrescens and adherence of P. gingivalis. These species are associated with disease development, and it’s ideal to be kept suppressed.


It has been suggested that green tea promotes periodontal health and also reduces inflammation and preventing bone resorption.


In one study specifically researching the effects of molecules in tea on inflammation found that many tea compounds tested showed comparable effects. These have the capacity to reduce the activation of NF-κB which is a key mediator of 500+ genes. Many of them controlling the inflammatory process in the body. These block the secretion of several other pro-inflammatory mediators.

Bad breath is mainly caused by certain bacteria producing volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) such as H2S and CH3SH in the oral cavity. These gases have a very characteristic odour that’s considered unpleasant. Oral microorganisms degrade proteins/peptide substrates to cysteine and methionine, which are then converted to VSCs.


Because tea polyphenols have been shown to have specific antimicrobial effects, researchers investigated whether green tea extract reduces bad breath.


Immediately after administering green tea it showed a significant reduction in the the concentration of both H2S and CH3SH gases. It was concluded multiple times that green tea was very effective in reducing bad breath of the mouth.


Tea is well studied and regular consumption is considered very safe. The numerous positive effects in so many areas of health put it into an important place in our daily habits.


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