Tea has no erosive action on the teeth according to a recent study. The study found that tea, like plain water, has no erosive potential.
Commenting on the research, Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Tea Advisory Panel notes: “This study aimed to identify the erosive effects on the teeth enamel of tea, without the addition of milk and sugar, and to compare the erosive potential of these teas with that of cola, orange juice, vinegar and water.
“The researchers used 36 recently extracted pre-molar teeth for this study. They assessed the teeth for erosion at the start of the study, then immersed them for a period of 20 weeks in one of the test fluids. The teeth were examined weekly (by measurement and photography) for loss of tooth enamel during the study period.
At the end of the study period, the teeth immersed in tea, like plain water, showed no erosive potential. By contrast the teeth immersed in vinegar saw complete erosion of the enamel, while those immersed in cola and orange juice also showed considerable erosion by 20 weeks.
“Erosion of tooth enamel is a significant cause of poor dental health in the UK. Indeed, according to the latest Children’s Dental Health Survey , nearly half of children have some dental erosion by the age of 6.
“According to the researchers of this recent tooth study, the protective effects of tea could be due to several of tea’s constituents. As a natural source of fluoride, tea renders the tooth enamel resistant to acid. In addition, tannins in tea appear to inhibit salivary amylase (an enzyme in saliva) from breaking down dietary starches into sugars in the mouth. The presence of simple sugars is essential for the action of the bacteria in the mouth that cause dental caries. The authors also highlight literature suggesting that tea polyphenols and tannin inhibit the development of dental caries.”
In summary Dr Ruxton notes: “In conclusion, the study’s authors say that tea seems to have a dual action on dental health. First it can help to prevent dental caries and second, it has minimal effects on erosion of tooth enamel.
“In addition to all the other well known benefits of tea, tea can also be recommended as a beverage which is good for dental health. Given the high levels of tooth erosion in the UK this is good news for people of all ages.”
The Tea Advisory Panel: The Tea Advisory Panel is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the UK TEA COUNCIL, the trade association for the UK tea industry. For further information please call 0207 7058989.
Notes to editors:
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