Research is now finding that when it comes to your teeth, the best thing to drink is brewed tea. While sugary and acidic drinks, such as fruit juices and soda, promote irreversible tooth erosion, brewed tea has no erosive effect on teeth, and the antioxidants found in brewed tea provide a bountiful of health benefits. Tea is loaded with natural antioxidants, which, research has shown, are thought to decrease incidence of cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
Author Mohamed A. Bassiouny, DMD, BDS, MSc, PhD, headed one study comparing green and black tea to soda and orange juice in terms of their short- and long-term erosive effect on human teeth. What he concluded was that tea was very similar to water, meaning it had no erosive effect on the teeth. Bassiouny notes that many overseas studies have found green tea to be superior to black tea because of its natural flavonoids (plant nutrients) and antioxidants.
Experts suggest staying away from additives such as milk, lemon, or sugar in any brewed tea because they decrease the benefits of tea's natural flavonoids. It doesn’t matter whether the tea is warm or cold, just as long as it’s home brewed without the acidic and sugary additives.
Kenton Ross, DMD, FAGD, AGD spokesperson, sees patients' erosion problems on a daily basis in his practice. "This study clearly shows that brewed teas resulted in dramatically less enamel loss than soft drinks and acidic juices. I would highly recommend patients choose tea as an alternative to more erosive drinks like soda and fruit juice."
Who knows if brewed tea will ever be endorsed by the American Dental Society or will one day be found in bathroom medicine cabinets next to the mouthwash, but it appears that drinking the herbal leaf can prolong the need for dentures. Brew a teabag, save a tooth....
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