Drink to Your Health - Your Teeth Will Thank You

teaSteering clear of red wine, coffee and sugary sodas continues to be an effective strategy for keeping teeth in great shape, but there is one beverage that can protect your teeth against erosion - brewed tea.

Refined sugars and citric acid are some of the culprits behind tooth decay, but it's become increasingly harder to avoid foods and drinks that contain these ingredients.  In a study published in the Academy of General Dentistry's journal, General Dentistry, brewed tea contains compounds that won't wear down tooth enamel and may also help protect the teeth and gums in the long run.

Both black and green tea contain antioxidants that have been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, and the study suggests that these teas do not have an erosive effect that can break down teeth enamel. Green tea enthusiasts also enjoy the added benefit of flavanoids in their beverage, plant nutrients that support a healthy immune system and ward off certain diseases.

In order to reap the most benefits from drinking tea, experts say it's best to enjoy the tea in its natural state - without using sugars, lemon or even milk to mask the taste.  The tea's natural flavanoids cannot be absorbed as easily when they're coupled with other ingredients, so it's best to drink that cup of tea - iced or steaming hot - as is.

In addition to drinking freshly brewed tea regularly, there are ways to reduce the effects of erosion from foods and drinks in the daily diet.  Dentists recommend chewing sugar-free gum between meals to increase saliva flow to the mouth; this acts as a protective covering for the teeth which can then reduce the risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.

It's also a good idea to rinse the mouth with water regularly, especially after a meal.   And, if you must have that sugary soda or coffee, drink it quickly through a straw to reduce the risk of erosion on the tops of the teeth.

(Source: Academy of General Dentistry)

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