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J Med Microbiol. 2001 Apr;50(4):299-302.

Anti-cariogenic properties of tea (Camellia sinensis).

Author information

  • Department of Medical Microbiology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London. j.hamilton-miller@rfc.ucl.ac.uk


Various components in green and black tea, the beverages made by infusing appropriately processed dried leaves of Camellia sinensis, notably simple catechins, have properties in vitro that suggest an anti-cariogenic activity. These include: a direct bactericidal effect against Streptococcus mutans and S. sobrinus; prevention of bacterial adherence to teeth; inhibition of glucosyl transferase, thus limiting the biosynthesis of sticky glucan; inhibition of human and bacterial amylases. Studies in animal models show that these in-vitro effects can translate into caries prevention. A limited number of clinical trials in man suggest that regular tea drinking may reduce the incidence and severity of caries. If substantiated, this could offer a very economical public health intervention.

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