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

Anti-cariogenic properties of tea (Camellia sinensis).

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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