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Is your morning tea helping to fight cavities?


You probably get most of your cavity-preventing fluoride from toothpaste and tap water—unless you’re a fan of black tea. Previous estimates of the fluoride level in this popular breakfast brew have been miscalculated, according to recent research.

Past studies have used a measuring technique that determined black tea’s fluoride to be between one and five milligrams per liter. However, Dr. Gary Whitford, professor at the Medical College of Georgia’s School of Dentistry, used a new method of analysis that revealed black tea could contain as much as nine milligrams per liter.

The average American ingests approximately two or three milligrams of fluoride every day.

Although this is good news for the moderate tea drinker, it could spell danger for constant consumers of black tea. Excessive fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis, a painful bone disease. However, sufferers whose diagnoses have been linked to black tea are believed to have drunk over a gallon of it every day for more than a decade.

If you decide to up your black tea intake to help protect your teeth, you may also want to consider incorporating a whitening toothpaste or treatment into your dental hygiene routine, as it’s one of the biggest staining culprits.