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 study1 published online on 11 April 2013 by Yi Wang, Felicia FL Chung, Sui M Lee and Gary A Dykes analysed five 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 chrysanthemum tea a close runner-up, 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, they were insignificant compared to that of pu-erh tea. 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 the growth of bacteria; bacteria such as the one that forms plaque, gum disease, and dental cavities.  A study2 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 any negative side effects, and this also varies based on the fluoride found in the local water.

Remember the first study we mentioned about pu-erh tea being able to prevent plaque from all the mouth? There is another study3 similar to it but is specific to 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, and when added to a proper brushing and flossing routine can prevent a lot of tooth decay and gum related diseases. As if we needed another reason to drink more tea.


Photo “melissas-teeth” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Dan DeLuca and is being posted unaltered (source)