According to the latest research, black tea is beneficial for overall oral health. Black tea, the most common among the three types of teas–black, green, and red–helps to prevent bad breath and facilitates the wellbeing of your teeth and gums.
Relax and kill bacteria with black tea
As you sip your cup of tea, the brew is actually getting rid of oral bacteria in your mouth. Polyphenols, one of the key components of black tea, have been found to inhibit growth of oral bacteria. New research presented by Christine Wu and Min Zhu of the University of Illinois states that catechins and theaflavins–polyphenols present in tea leaves–inhibit the growth of oral bacteria. The bacteria-killing action takes place over a 48-hour incubation period. Research presented at the 103rd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington DC found that the two tea components also help to eliminate bad breath, inhibiting the normal functioning of an enzyme that acts as a catalyst in the production of hydrogen sulphide, which contributes to bad breath.
Eliminate mouth infections
Black tea also wards off mouth infections such as strep throat and dental cavities. Researchers have found that polyphenols in combination with green tea extracts inhibit bacterial growth. These compounds when added to toothpaste or mouthwash increase their efficacy many times in combating microbial agents. Random surveys have reported that black tea reduces the incidence of dental cavities. Tea is a natural source of fluoride, therefore helping to promote healthy tooth enamel. Also, tannins present in black tea inhibit the growth of plaque-causing bacteria apart from inhibiting the action of salivary amylase, thus making their contribution in cavity prevention.
Components of tea such as tannins, caffeine, tocopherol and catechin are known to raise the acid resistance of tooth enamel. And their combination with fluoride, which is, as we said, a component of black tea heightens this effect. Studies have thus concluded that black tea may safely be recommended as a substitute for more acidic beverages, which contribute to dental erosion.
Drink black tea to avoid oral cancer
Black tea also has a role to play in prevention of oral cancer. People with a precancerous condition termed oral leukoplakia can cut down on the risk of oral cancer by drinking black tea. A study funded by the National Tea Research Foundation of India found that the polyphenols in black tea may reverse cancer-causing changes to the DNA of cells lining the mouth. Oral leukoplakia is characterized by stubborn white patches or plaque in the mouth.
When taken with milk, black tea is also a good source of calcium. It contains traces of vitamin B2 and B6, manganese, potassium and zinc. As more research is done on the benefits of black tea, it is becoming more apparent that incorporating tea into our daily lives can benefit our health in a number of ways.