Is Drinking tea good for teeth? Yes, except for one thing..

Green tea comes with health-promoting ingredients. Many studies found that drinking green tea can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of several illnesses such as diabetes and various heart-related problems. Green tea has been shown to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol.

Green tea in cup

What’s good for the heart, is usually good for the brain; your brain needs healthy blood vessels too. In the 2014 Swiss study, MRIs revealed that people who drank green tea had a more significant effect on cognitive functioning in the brain’s memory area. Green tea has also been known to help block the formation of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.1)

The Hidden Health Benefits of Tea

The benefits of green tea do not stop there; green tea is also beneficial for oral health. Green tea contains Catechin and fluorine that can prevent tooth loss and periodontal disease and also, prevent tooth loss. A cross-sectional study conducted by the Graduate School of Dentistry at Tohoku University revealed that older adults who drink four or more cups of green tea a day have 1.6 more teeth left than those who do not. This study also found that when people meet socially (more than ten friends and acquaintances a month), they drink 2.6 times more tea than those who do not meet socially. Since green tea is often drank when meeting socially in Japan, Associate Professor Aida and his colleagues believe that the more opportunities people have to consume green tea, they will keep more of their teeth.2)

The Disadvantages of Green Tea: Brown or yellow stains on teeth

There are so many benefits from drinking green tea.  What are the cons? Green tea can lead to teeth stains. It’s well known that coffee causes stains, but some are surprised to learn that green tea also causes stains. Green tea may stain teeth more than coffee. Since any tea leaves contain tannins, which naturally stain teeth, it is inevitable to have stained teeth unless you drink water right after a cup of tea each time to help reduce the amount of tannin left in your mouth. While tannin causes the teeth to have a dark blackish stain, it prevents cavities. In Japan, women used this tannin to make their teeth black to avoid cavities and oddly for cosmetic reasons until 100 years ago. It is called “ohaguro”. “oha” means teeth and “guro” means black in Japanese. Of course, Japanese people love white teeth now, that was a long time ago.

Green tea fields

The best way to prevent from tea stains

If you think it is a hassle to wash your mouth after a cup of green tea or worry too much about staining your white teeth, there are more permanent solutions: porcelain veneers or prep-less veneers. Dental veneers don’t get stains like the natural enamel and retain the color and brightness unless they get cracked or damaged. We had a patient who loved to drink tea. She drinks more than 10 cups of tea a day, from Assam to green tea. She frequently used teeth whitening gels and occasionally did a Zoom treatment.  One day, she complained about going through the whitening process because it is cumbersome to keep her teeth bright.  We recommended her to get porcelain veneers. Long story short, she does not visit us for whiting anymore except for a checkup. She says that it was a great decision to have porcelain veneers.

Different types of veneers: Choosing the right veneers

Porcelain veneers stay white

And also, myself. I had one upper central tooth with a composite. My mentor at the dental school did it when I was a student. It functioned well and was cosmetically pleasing. However, it stains much quicker than other teeth, and it is in the center of my face, so it stands out when it stains. I do not drink coffee or Coke, but I am a big-time tea drinker. I drink tea all the time at every single meal, during work, before going to bed, and while kayaking and mountain biking outdoors. My composite (plastic) tooth stains very quickly. About 10 years ago, I asked my assistant to hold the suction and a mirror, and I prepped my tooth myself and made my veneer. Ever since then, I do not have the stain issue anymore. I brush and floss every day, and that is all you need to keep the white teeth. If you are a tea or coffee drinker/lover, getting dental veneers may make your tea drinking much more enjoyable.

What are the benefits of drinking green tea? 
 “Catechin content”: Catechin is an antioxidant that can even prevent cell damage. Green tea is not very processed before being poured into a cup.
  1. Schmidt A, Hammann F, Wölnerhanssen B, Meyer-Gerspach AC, Drewe J, Beglinger C, Borgwardt S.Green tea extract enhances parieto-frontal connectivity during working memory processing Psychopharmacology (2014), doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3526-1
  2. Manami Hoshi 1OrcID,Jun Aida,*OrcID,Taro Kusama ,Takafumi Yamamoto,Sakura Kiuchi,Tatsuo Yamamoto,Toshiyuki Ojima,Katsunori Kondo, Ken OsakaIs the Association between Green Tea Consumption and the Number of Remaining Teeth Affected by Social Networks?: A Cross-Sectional Study from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study Project Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2052; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062052

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