Transcript: Protecting Teeth From Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus tea is so healthy, they even want to put it into meat. Consumer demands for healthier meat products are rapidly increasing, but prior attempts at adding healthy ingredients failed. Adding blackberries to burgers dyed them with a distinct purplish color, but the bloody red color of hibiscus fit in perfectly.
Hibiscus tea was found to be as effective as a leading blood pressure drug without the potential side-effects, which include everything from lack of strength and man boobs, down to impotence, with a whole lot in between, including rare cases of potentially fatal liver damage. There’s even a mnemonic we learn in medical school to try to memorize the major side-effects. Hibiscus, though, may have adverse effects of its own.
As I’ve reviewed previously, those that eat plant-based diets appear to have superior periodontal health, less gum disease, fewer signs of inflammation like bleeding, but twice the prevalence of dental erosions, areas on the teeth where the enamel has thinned thanks to more frequent consumption of acidic fruits and vegetables. So after we eat something like citrus we should swish our mouths with water to clear the acid from our teeth. And this includes beverages.
I’m a big fan of hibiscus tea, but they don’t call it sour tea for nothing. Researchers at the University of Iowa dental school tested 25 different popular teas, and found two with a pH under 3, meaning as acidic as orange juice or coca cola, Tazo’s passion and Bigelow’s red raspberry, both of which contain as their first ingredient hibiscus, that which also brings the zing to red zinger.
To see if the teas could actually dissolve teeth, they took 30 extracted molars from people, and indeed, out of the 5 teas tested, the greatest erosion came from soaking teeth in the tea with the most hibiscus. Now they left the tooth sitting in the tea for 25 hours straight, but this was to simulate a lifetime of exposure. Bottomline, herbal teas are potentially erosive, particularly fruity and citrusy teas like hibiscus, but it all depends on a variety of factors. To minimize the erosive potential we can use a straw, and after consuming acidic food or drinks, we should rinse our mouth with water to help neutralize the acid.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.
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