Pu-erh Tea A Smile As Sweet As Spring

 

I admit it, back in the day I got caveties. One year when I was about fifteen I found out I had four of them! I improved my brushing and over the course of the next decade my cavity incidence went down. Then being in my 20's there was a period of time when I didn't have insurance and sort of "forgot" to go to the dentist. After 2+ years I finally went and luckily - there were no caveties.While there was some natural tarter build up, that was no suprise I was amazed that I came away unscathed.

 

Some of the credit I give to switching to an electric toothbrush, as it did a better job than brushing alone. But little did I know that my tea habit actually contributed to this outcome. It's no wonder than I see young people at the same age who are hooked on energy drinks have BAD TEETH.


Luckily there is scientific evidence showing the links to tea consumption and better oral health.....

 

There are so many reasons one would want to have healthy teeth and gums. Either for that shiny stunning smile, being able to munch all the tasty and nutritious food, avoiding painful toothaches and many other oral health related conditions. Luckily we all know that we should brush our teeth and floss every day, but today we are going to explore an additional step to maximize your oral hygiene routine and that is by simply drinking pu-erh tea.

 

I know you are probably confused how can drinking pu-erh tea possibly improve my oral health ? A recent study(1) published online on 11 April 2013 by Yi Wang, Felicia FL Chung, Sui M Lee and Gary A Dykes analysed 5 commonly consumed teas which were green teaoolong teablack tea, pu-erh tea and chrysanthemum tea and whether these teas had the ability to prevent plaque from attaching to the oral cavity. Five different types of  oral pathogens (bacteria in the mouth) were used in this study so that the results would be more accurate. After the tests were completed results showed that pu-erh tea was the best candidate with a close runner up chrysanthemum tea as they were the ones that managed to reduce the most amount of all types of plaque. While the other teas also had effects on reducing certain types of plaque, pu-erh tea had the edge. These studies have only been done in vitro therefore further studies are still needed to fully proof this health benefit.

 

You might not be fully convinced yet of the major oral health benefits that pu-erh tea has to offer. One of which is that it contains flavonoids (antioxidants) which contribute to multiple pu-erh tea benefits. Flavonoids have been found to be able to kill or inhibit growth of bacteria, bacteria such as the one that forms plaque, gum disease and dental cavities.  A study(2) that had over 25,000 participants found that people who were drinking tea had a tooth loss reduction of 11% in women and 23% in men. Tea extracts are even being considered as a possible replacement for fluoride and triclosan in toothpaste as they have been found to be just as effective if not even better. Pu-erh tea contains a little fluoride, an ingredient in most toothpaste. Fluoride in tea will give a ''coating '' to your teeth therefore preventing damage done to the enamel of the tooth.  The amount of fluoride in Pu-erh tea is lower than that of other teas. However, you would need to drink an insane amount of tea for negative side effects, and this also varies based on the fluoride found in the local water.

 

Remember the first study(1) we mentioned about pu erh tea being able to prevent plaque from all the mouth? There is another study(3) similar to it but specific on the formation of plaque on the teeth (biofilm formation). In this study five types of the most consumed teas were used on two types of teeth plaque. In order to analyze the effects of different teas on the biofilm formation SEM (scanning electron microscopy) with phytochemical screening were used. Findings found that pu-erh tea extracts were the best at preventing plaque from forming on the teeth.

 

Drinking a nice cup of pu-erh tea every day can be very beneficial for you and even your family's oral health, added with proper brushing and flossing routine can prevent almost all tooth decay and gum related diseases. As if we needed another reason to drink more tea.

 

 

Resources:

Study(1) https://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-0500-6-143

Study(2) http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/tea#dental-health

Study(3) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927014.2013.774377?journalCode=gbif20