Tea and Oral Health: Risks and Prevention

Risks and benefits are often calculated in many aspects of life. Many people calculate every morning while deciding on their chosen warm drink to wake up their body and mind. This calculation may be intentional or reflexive. Most people worldwide enjoy their first cup of hot tea in the mornings, but drinking such may have certain disadvantages, particularly regarding oral health.


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So, for those of you avid tea lovers out there, here are some of the oral tea disadvantages and practical advice you can follow to prevent potential harm to tooth and gum tissues.

  1. Teeth Discoloration

    Tannins are organic substances that are present in tea. The tea leaves' yellow or brownish colour is dependent on the levels of these compounds. These organic substances have the potential to discolour healthy teeth when they have time to accumulate. With that, teeth discolouration is one of the most common risks of drinking too much tea. 

    How to prevent teeth discolouration?

    Using a straw can lessen the number of tea tannins contacting your teeth. The compounds don't nestle in the crevices of your enamel; instead, they travel directly down to your stomach, out of the teeth's vulnerability. Additionally, the enamel of the teeth is also thought to be porous since it has gaps. Water can remove some tannins from your enamel when you are drinking your hot beverage by filtering through the pores and expelling them.

    Eliminating any lingering traces of the tea that cause discolouration after consumption is one of the best ways to stop marks from developing on the teeth. After ingesting these beverages, brush your teeth, or at the minimum, rinse your mouth with water or milk. Since the acids in alcoholic drinks erode the enamel, it is frequently advisable to wait approximately an hour after ingesting them before brushing your teeth. As a result, it is simpler for the enamel to be harmed during brushing.

    Another effective method for removing leftover debris between your teeth is flossing. The remaining beverage components there can discolour your teeth and erode the enamel that covers the edges of your teeth. Flossing can help prevent such damages. Although you practice decent dental hygiene, you may also want to try utilizing teeth-whitening solutions if you feel that your teeth still need extra care. 

  2.  Erodes Teeth Enamel

    As you may have learned, teas have an acidic component that might erode tooth enamel. Enamel, a material that shields teeth from physical and chemical harm, makes up the outer covering of your teeth. Enamel on teeth is highly durable. It is more durable than bone and the most rigid tissue in the human body. Your teeth' enamel serves as their first line of protection against the numerous chemicals from food and fluids like that tea. It may be vulnerable to wear and tear as a consequence. It is known as enamel erosion. Tooth sensitivity is one of the signs of enamel erosion. It is significant to remember that tooth enamel cannot grow back.

    How to prevent enamel erosion? 

    Enamel erosion is best avoided by taking steps to stop it before it starts. Unless you already have some enamel loss, maintaining good oral hygiene will prevent it from worsening. Good oral hygiene means brushing your teeth. However, wait around 30 minutes after drinking your tea before attempting to slink away for a quick cleanup. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately to ensure that some of the acidic substances coating your enamel are neutralized by saliva before you brush. Talk to your dentist to know what kind of mouthwash is ideal for your oral care needs, especially if you are a regular tea drinker. Aim to use your mouthwash about 30 minutes after a warm morning tea beverage. This habit may be enormously beneficial if you ever need to remineralize your teeth.

    Additionally, a dentist can assist you with a few methods if you've had severe enamel loss. The initial one is known as tooth bonding. In the bonding process, a tooth-coloured substance called resin is placed on discoloured or broken teeth. The resin can shield your teeth from damage and conceal stains. If discolourations on your front teeth result from enamel degradation, you might want to consider dental bonding. 


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  3. Can Cause Cavities

    Tea will not naturally create cavities, but the substances put into it can. If you add sugar to your tea, you run a higher chance of developing cavities. Sugar molecules can cause tooth decay. Even natural sweeteners like honey, if you add them to your green tea, might cause tooth decay because they contain sugars. The fact that liquid sugars fill every crevice in the mouth makes them the worst for it. 

    How do we prevent tooth cavities?

    It is advisable to avoid adding sugar and honey to your tea. However, if you prefer your tea to be sweet, consider adding a sugar-free sweetener in its place.

    Speak with your dentist about a dental hygiene exam and treatment if you are worried about a tooth cavity that is already present. Allowing a dentist to evaluate the harm and work with you to create maintenance and cleaning techniques helps prevent it from worsening and contributes to minimizing further harm to your oral health.

     

Final thoughts:

Generally, tea is good for your teeth as long as you consume it without any sugars. Remember that the more tea you consume, the more stains your teeth will develop all over your smile. Teeth naturally collect black stain molecules from the beverages you put in your mouth because they are covered with minute pores. Furthermore, tooth erosion can occur with too much tea due to the drink's acidity. 

 

Giving up tea is certainly not worth it if you are reaping its health advantages and notice a noticeable improvement in your wellbeing. Studies show that tea aids in the management of weight, blood pressure, sugar levels, skin issues, or general inflammation. In either of those circumstances, especially if you routinely visit the dentist or have accessibility to tooth whitening supplies, the trade-off with teeth stain or minimal teeth erosion is worthwhile. 

References: 

  1. Ever Smile White. 2020. How To Reduce Coffee And Tea Stains. Retrieved from: https://eversmilewhite.com/blogs/eversmile-blog/how-to-reduce-coffee-tea-stains. Retrieved on 2 July 2022. 
  2. Healthline. 2022. Tooth Enamel Erosion: What You Should Know. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/enamel-erosion. Retrieved on 2 July 2022.
  3. Marietta Roswell Dental Care. 2018. 5 Tips to Stop Your Favorite Drinks from Staining Your Teeth. Retrieved from: https://www.mariettaroswelldentist.com/blog/5-tips-to-stop-your-favorite-drinks-from-staining-your-teeth/. Retrieved on 2 July 2022.
  4. Teeth Talk Girl. 2019. Wait, Is Green Tea Good Or Bad For Teeth?. Retrieved from: https://teethtalkgirl.com/videos/is-green-tea-good-or-bad-for-teeth. Retrieved on 2 July 2022.

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