Regular consumption of oolong tea has been shown to significantly inhibit plaque and thus help prevent cavities, according to an article on DrBicuspid.com.
Health Benefits of Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is a popular and traditional beverage enjoyed primarily in China and Japan, where it was classically considered medicinal. And there’s no doubt about it – oolong tea provides plenty of health benefits through its high concentration of polyphenol. MedicineNet explains how polyphenol works:
Polyphenols act as antioxidants. They protect cells and body chemicals against damage caused by free radicals, reactive atoms that contribute to tissue damage in the body. For example, when low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is oxidized, it can become glued to arteries and cause coronary heart disease.
Oolong tea is a semi-fermented cross between green tea (unfermented) and black tea (fermented). It is left out to wither and oxidize under the sun, where it curls up into little rolls. It is steeped in not-quite-boiling water for 3-4 minutes to produce the drink.
Study on Oolong Tea and Dental Health
The study research, originally published in May 2011 in Caries Research, showed that polyphenol also helps prevent plaque from building up in the mouth. Researchers gave 31 subjects a professional teeth cleaning then split the group in half. Participants avoided coffee, alcohol and other tea through the next 4 days. During this time, one group drank only water with meals and before sleeping, while the other group drank only oolong tea with meals and before sleeping. After researchers evaluated the level of plaque with a staining agent, each group switched to the other drink through the next 4 days. Each time, the level of plaque was significantly lower in the test subjects who drank oolong tea versus just water.
Results are not conclusive, but several tests seem to indicate that the polyphenols in oolong tea contribute to increased dental health.
Though drinking oolong tea can help prevent plaque buildup, dentists say that it will not prevent plaque all by itself. There is no replacement for regular brushing, flossing and professional teeth cleanings. Think of it more as a tasty extra step to supplement your regular dental health regimen.