What can’t tea do for your health, your body, and your mood? There are countless ways in which tea helps keep us healthy and happy, from antioxidants and digestive soothing to increasing our vitamin intake and strengthening our immune systems. Every type of tea offers its own unique benefits, its own special blend of herbs — and, of course, there are so many different teas to try. No matter what your favorite tea might be, the simple fact that you’re a tea lover and drinker is helping your health. That’s right — according to recent research conducted by Dr. Carrie Ruxton and T.J. Bond, both health nutritionists in the United Kingdom, drinking tea on a daily basis is not only a delicious habit, but a smart choice for your health. More specifically, drinking a cup of tea each day benefits your dental health, and your pearly whites.
Ruxton and Bond began their study in the hopes of learning how much fluoride existed in tea. Was it more than the amount recommended by UK government officials and dental experts — or was it okay to keep sipping tea often? The duo gathered 49 different types of teabags, a selection that included both boxed grocery store varieties, speciality teas, and caffeine-free types. They then took measurements of each blend to determine how much fluoride existed within both the dry leaves and the brewed cup.
The researchers found that each cup of tea included approximately 0.72 to 1.68 milligrams of fluoride, averaging about 1.18 mg. The teas that tended to have less fluoride were specialty teas; the more budget-friendly options found in the grocery store featured higher levels, and somewhat surprisingly, decaffeinated teas had the highest fluoride amount. So, what do these numbers and levels mean? Well, the fluoride content of any cup of tea depends on where it’s grown — what type of soil it grows in, as well as the climate and location. Some types of soil have different levels fluoride, which gets transferred into the tea leaves.
Don’t let these fluoride numbers frighten you, though; fluoride is a helpful addition to tea, as it strengthens our teeth and their protective enamel. Additionally, the results of Ruxton and Bond’s research show that we can drink as many as four cups of tea each day before achieving the daily recommended dose of fluoride. Do be aware, though, that if you choose a caffeine-free or grocery store blend, that you may want to sip one less cup due to the increased amount of fluoride. But, there’s really nothing to worry about — your tea-drinking habits are keeping your pearly whites healthy, fighting off bad breath, tooth decay, and other mouth problems.