To Prevent Cavities - Swish Tea Instead of Mouthwash by Researchers from the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago
Compounds found in tea can stop the growth of bacteria that
cause bad breath, according to researchers at the University of
Illinois at Chicago.
Polyphenols, chemical components of tea, prevent both the growth
of bacteria responsible for bad breath and the bacteria's
production of malodorous compounds, the UIC researchers found.
Bad breath - or halitosis - afflicts a large portion of the
population. It is caused by foul-smelling volatile sulphur
compounds, like hydrogen sulphide, produced by anaerobic bacteria
that thrive in environments lacking oxygen, such as the back of the
tongue and deep gum pockets.
In the laboratory study, Wu and Zhu incubated tea polyphenols
with three species of bacteria associated with bad breath for 48
hours. At concentrations ranging from 16 to 250 micrograms per
millilitre, the polyphenols inhibited growth of the oral bacteria.
At even lower concentrations - from 2.5 to 25 micrograms per
millilitre - the polyphenols hindered the enzyme that catalyses the
formation of hydrogen sulphide, cutting its production by 30 per
cent, they reported.
Wu said the present study complements earlier research in her
laboratory showing that black tea suppresses the growth of bacteria
in dental plaque and that rinsing with black tea reduces plaque
formation and the production of acids that cause tooth decay.
"Besides inhibiting the growth of pathogens in the mouth, black
tea and its polyphenols may benefit human oral health by
suppressing the bad-smelling compounds that these pathogens
produce," Wu said.
The polyphenols found in tea include chemicals called catechins
and theaflavins. Catechins are found in both green and black teas,
while theaflavins are found predominantly in black tea.
Black tea, an aqueous infusion of dried leaves of the Camellia
sinensis plant, is the most popular beverage worldwide, second only
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