UK consumers have been warned that choosing cheap tea from supermarkets might save them money in the short-term, but drinking excessive amounts of this kind of tea might be bad for their teeth, the NHS Choices website said.
According to a new study, cheaper tea brands, especially economy ‘own-brand’ supermarket tea, contain higher levels of fluoride. While the mineral is essential for strong and healthy teeth and bones, excessive levels of fluoride can lead to a condition known as fluorosis. Some of its symptoms include discoloration of the teeth, bone pain and stiffness, NHS Choices noted.
The research, conducted by a team of scholars at the University of Derby in partnership with the former Health Protection Agency, found that consuming a liter of cheap tea a day can exceed the recommended daily dose of fluoride.
However, researchers claim that the study did not actually prove that supermarket tea brands damage teeth. They suggested that the increased level of fluoride in economy blends might be explained by the fact that these brands use older leaves of the tea plant, which naturally contain more fluoride.
According to the NHS Choices website, despite the lack of official guidance, many experts recommend that people consume a maximum of three mugs of tea per day.
Overall, fluorosis is an extremely rare condition in the UK since drinking water contains very small amounts of the mineral, the website concluded.