Tea fights cavities, reduces plaque

May 21, 2001

Drinking tea may help fight cavities. A group of researchers from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry believe that black tea and its components benefit oral healh by interfering with the harmful plaque bacteria in the mouth that cause gum disease and cavities. They report their results at the 101st General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Orlando, Florida.

"In recent years, many symposia and publications have focused on the health effects of green teas. Earlier studies by Japanese scientists have suggested that consumption of green tea lead to reduction of dental cavities in humans," says Dr. Christina Wu, the principle investigator of the study. "However less attention has been focused on black tea, the more popular drink in the Western countries, and worldwide 80 percent of the tea consumed is black tea."

Dr. Wu and her colleagues found that compounds in black tea were capable of killing or suppressing growth and acid production of cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque. Black tea also affects the bacterial enzyme glucosyltranferase which is responsible for converting sugars into the sticky matrix material that plaque uses to adhere to teeth. In addition, certain plaque bacteria, upon exposure to black tea, lost their ability to form the clumpy aggregates with other bacteria in plaque, thereby reducing the total mass of the dental plaque.

One study conducted in Dr. Wu's lab found that when volunteers rinsed with black tea for 30 seconds five times at 3-minute intervals plaque bacteria stopped growing and producing acid, which breaks down the teeth and causes cavities. This research supports an earlier Swedish study that found rinsing the mouth with black tea significantly reduced plaque build-up.

"It is our belief of these researchers that the intake of black tea can be signficant to imporove oral health of the general public," says Wu. "If sequenced properly between meals and normal oral hygiene, a reduction in dental caries may be possible. Drinking tea may have added oral health benefits by controlling through 'prevention' the most prevalent diseases of mankind, mainly caries and periodontal disease."
-end-
This release is a summary of a presentation from the 101st General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, May 20-24, 2001, in Orlando, Florida. Additional information on these and other presentations at the 100th ASM General Meeting can be found online at http://www.asmusa.org/pcsrc/gm2001/presskit.htm or by contacting Jim Sliwa (jsliwa@asmusa.org) in the ASM Office of Communications. The phone number for the General Meeting Press Room is 407-685-8061 and will be active from 10:00 a.m., May 20 until 12:00 noon, May 24.

American Society for Microbiology

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.