Transcript: Childhood Tea Drinking May Increase Fluorosis Risk
If cranberries are so good at keeping bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder, what about the keeping bacteria from sticking to other places? Well there's in vitro research suggesting cranberry phytonutrients may reduce adhesion of H. pylori bacteria in the wall of the stomach, and so maybe should be given along with antibiotics to help eradicate the ulcer-causing bacteria. And hey, what about our teeth? Dental plaque is bacteria sticking to our teeth, particularly streptococcus mutans. We've known that those with different drinking habits, be they coffee, tea, barley coffee, or wine, have about 10 times less of this plaque bacteria. Since those are all beverages from plants, maybe phytonutrients are fighting back at plaque.
If bacteria cause plaque and cavities, why not just swish with some antibiotic solution, either synthetic or natural. Well there are downsides to just indiscriminately wiping out bacteria both good and bad, as I detailed in antiseptic mouthwash video. So maybe if we just stop the bad bugs from sticking to our teeth? Well, there is some evidence that cranberries might affect the adhesion of bacteria to fake teeth in a petri dish, but nothing yet definitive. Green tea also appears to help prevent cavities, but that may be because of its natural fluoride content in the tea plant. I have a video about a woman that developed fluoride toxicity drinking up to like 5 dozen cups a day, but what about just regular consumption?
During the tooth development years, up to about age 9, children exposed to too much fluoride can develop dental fluorosis, a mottled discoloration of the teeth—it's just a cosmetic issue and usually just faint white spots--but is the main reason the EPA is reconsidering current tap water fluoridation levels. Currently, the suggested upper limit in water is 2 parts per million and the mandatory upper limit is 4. Herbal teas were fine about 100 fold under the limit, but caffeinated teas exceeded the suggested limit, and decaf teas exceeded the mandatory limit.
Remember, though, that's the limit for tap water. So tea drinking would only pose much of a risk if drank all day long as one's primary beverage. So in terms of the dental ramifications, kids who primarily drink non-herbal tea as a source of hydration will be at risk for dental fluorosis.
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 Ariel Levitsky.
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