On any given day, over 159 million Americans are drinking tea. It’s so popular that it even has a month dedicated to it: January is officially “National Hot Tea Month.”
Hot tea can support your oral health, but it can also cause dental problems. We’re about to spill the tea on how to enjoy your tea and protect your smile.
How Hot Tea Can Be Bad for Your Teeth
Tea has tannins that can cause yellow or brown stains on your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with plain water after drinking tea can reduce the chances of staining, as will regular dental cleanings from a professional hygienist.
Tea isn’t at fault here. It’s what we add to it that causes problems. According to one study, Americans typically add about two teaspoons of sugar (36.7 calories) to their hot tea. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6 percent of calories each day. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. If you like your tea with lemon, try to limit it to a cup a day. Lemon is acidic and can erode dental enamel.
How Hot Tea Can Be Good for Your Teeth
Black and green tea contain fluoride (green tea contains twice the amount found in black.) About 50 percent of fluoride in your tea is deposited in the bone and teeth; the other half is excreted. Numerous studies have shown that the addition of Fluoride to public water supplies reduces the risk of tooth decay by between 40 and 60 percent in both children and adults.
Black tea is rich in these antioxidant plant compounds that help protect cells from inflammation. Polyphenols can also help reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay, gum inflammation, and bad breath.
Green tea can help reduce acid in your mouth. This is great because an acidic oral environment can cause your dental enamel to erode, which can cause pain, cavities, infections and weaken your teeth. Among other herbal brews, chamomile, mint, and fennel teas also help reduce acid. But not all herb teas are beneficial, some can be as corrosive as orange juice. Rinsing with warm water after drinking your tea can help protect your teeth. And do wait an hour or so after consuming any acidic drink (or food) before brushing your teeth.[Text Wrapping Break]
What Tea is the Healthiest to Drink?
Black, green, white and oolong teas share many health benefits, but each type of tea has specific advantages.
- Black Tea is good for your overall health, supporting healthy brain function and heart health, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some studies suggest drinking black tea may lower the risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis and reduce kidney stone risk in women. L-theanine, found in tea, supports the immune system in fighting infection, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A Harvard study found that those who drank a cup or more of Black tea per day had a 44% reduced risk of heart attack.
- Green Tea consumption can ward off dental decay and gum disease, reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer such as bladder, esophageal and pancreatic cancers and lower the risk of ovarian cancer. It can even reduce bad breath, due to its disinfectant and deodorant capabilities. The list of benefits, backed by medical research, go on and on. Freshly brewed green tea delivers the most health benefits. The recommended consumption is three cups a day.
- Oolong Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used to make green tea and black tea. It’s oxidized when processed, which adds additional benefits to the minerals and antioxidants found in black and green teas. For example, Oolong tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid shown to have positive effects on relaxation and cognitive performance. It also contains about 38 mg of caffeine (a cup of green tea contains about 29mg of caffeine.)
Drink Your Tea, and See Your Dentist
No matter what tea you drink, regular dental care is critical to your oral and overall health. Dentists can spot small issues (created by the not-so-great teas or the things you add to your tea – among other things) and address them before they become big problems. If you do not have dental insurance or would like to maximize your savings at the dentist, consider joining a dental savings plan. These plans are an affordable alternative to dental insurance that can save plan members 10-60% on most dental procedures, including preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental care. If you’d like to learn more about how dental savings plans work, you can reach out to us at 1-833-735-0399.