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Teeth and tea

Milk in tea will keep teeth white

A new study claims that adding a drop of milk to your tea can is more effective than bleaching products or whitening toothpastes.

THE perfect cup of tea is said to contain 5ml of milk and, according to a new study, this measurement has extra scientific merit to it.

The study, published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, found that adding a splash of milk to your tea can stop your teeth from becoming stained.

The leader of the study, Dr Ava Chow from the University of Alberta’s School of Dentistry, said: “Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, and the way it’s processed affects how teeth are stained. The more the tea is processed or oxidized, the higher its staining properties are.

“But we’ve found that the addition of milk to tea reduces the tea’s ability to stain teeth.”

Using extracted human teeth, Chow and her students determined the colour of the natural teeth before placing them in either a controlled solution of tea, or a solution of tea with milk. They left the teeth in the drinks for 24 hours at 37C, and then took colour readings again.

They found that the tannins – a polphenol that adds bitterness to the drink – found in tea are dark in colour and have the ability to stain your teeth. Casein, the main protein in milk, binds to the tannins and is able to prevent staining.

“The results we found showed that casein is the component of milk that is responsible for the reduction of tea-induced staining.

“The magnitude of the colour change observed in our experiments is comparable to the colour change seen by vital bleaching products and more effective than whitening toothpastes.”

But, Chow added, before dentists start recommending their patients to take milk with their tea, they should consider whether it is a part of their culture: “Adding milk to tea is a culture-specific phenomenon. Some cultures may refuse to add it and others only drink tea with milk.”

Source: The Telegraph

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