According to a report, published in the British Nutrition Foundation, drinking black tea reduces the amount of bacteria in the mouth, particularly Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus, which are thought to contribute to dental health problems.
Dr Carrie Ruxton, leader of the study, said that between three and four cups a day were the optimal quantity. Black tea’s beneficial properties are kept even if sugar has been added to it, researchers also found.
Fans of green tea will be happy to find that this blend also has a similar effect. It could also help bad breath because it is capable of dealing with the sulphur compounds in the mouth, which are among the main causes for the condition.
Dr Ruxton explained that the research offered strong evidence that antioxidants in black tea and green tea, called flavonoids and catechins, reduces inflammation and prevents bacteria from adhering to teeth and gums.
In turn, this reduces the risk of disease and tooth loss. If bacteria remains stuck to the tooth surface, it starts dissolving the enamel and this may trigger various problems.
The fact that black and green tea can help eliminate bacteria should be of great importance to dentists and hygienists, as it can help them raise awareness on oral care and prevention of dental health problems, Dr Ruxton said.