Doctor's Note

I now just keep a mason jar filled with cold-steeped green tea (Cold Steeping Green Tea) with a spoonful of amla in the fridge and swish and swallow any time I’m rummaging around in there. For extra credit you can gargle a bit with it too (see my video Can Gargling Prevent the Common Cold?).

Green tea shouldn’t be the primary beverage of children, though, as the natural fluoride content may cause cosmetic spots on the teeth. For more check out my video Childhood Tea Drinking May Increase Fluorosis Risk.

Here’s the links to the two oral health videos I refer to in the video: Plant-Based Diets: Oral Health and Plant-Based Diets: Dental Health.

Another reason we may want to avoid antibacterial mouthwashes is that they can kill off the good bacteria on our tongue instrumental in enhancing athletic performance with nitrate-containing vegetables. See my video Don’t Use Antiseptic Mouthwash.

Green tea doesn’t just kill off harmful bacteria, but harmful viruses as well. Check out Treating Genital Warts with Green Tea.

Need a reminder what amla is? More on dried Indian gooseberry powder power in:

 If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

  • Linda

    What about coconut oil? My mouth never felt so clean and the added bonus, my teeth have gotten whiter. How much whiter? Don’t use those harsh chemicals to whiten them any more!

    • Lin

      Linda, how are you using the oil? Thanks!

      • Linda

        Please refer to my answer to Sara below. Thanks!

  • dimqua

    What about other natural alternatives like essensial oils (peppermint, thyme, eucalyptus)?

    • Julot Julott

      Probably too agressive~

    • Panchito

      You can get Listerine Naturals (with or without Fluoride) at the supermarket. It is like an herbal tea and it is convenient. Topical Fluoride makes a tighter web in the teeth (much stronger) and prevents stains from forming. Learn about the disadvantages of not using topical Fluoride long term.

      • mauims

        Fl??? A known carcinogen?

  • Sara

    How do I apply coconut oil for my teeth. Sounds interesting!

    • Linda

      Take a good tablespoon good quality coconut oil and put in your mouth. Swish it around for about 10 minutes. Spit out into garbage can (do not put down sink drain). You don’t want to swallow it after swishing in mouth as it is supposed to contain all the toxins that were in your mouth. This is called oil pulling.

      • Frankly Mudear
        • Linda

          I have also read other articles like this, but for me the proof is in my mouth. My dentist has noticed a change also. My mouth always feels like I have just had my teeth cleaned and there is no debate about the whiteness of my teeth. But, like everything else in life, you have to decide for yourself! Thanks for your input.

        • Cory

          Snopes is not a credible site. It’s a guy and his wife only. They don’t have a research background either. They are a sham.

    • barbarabrussels

      It doesn’t have to be coconut oil either, I’ve tried coconut, olive and sesame oil. And currently I’m sticking with the sesame oil. And it’s true, great results for me too! See this link for an in depth article with links to scientific research http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/oil-pulling-dental-healer.html. Good luck!

  • Catherine J Frompovich

    Something to check out is called “oil pulling,” which is explained here

    http://authoritynutrition.com/oil-pulling-coconut-oil/

    • Frankly Mudear
      • Ben

        A practice probably promoted in order to sell coconut oil. We know what has the science behind it, GREEN TEA as shown in THIS video. THAT’S what works. Save your money and only use coconut oil as a moisturizer.

        • Adrien

          Indeed, can’t agree more !

  • Beth Genly

    Another interventional study on periodontal health: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01793.x/pdf

    • http://www.emily4health.com Emily Spigelmire

      Yes! And guess what ingredient (along with the many whole-food ingredients contained in the supplements used in this study) is found in the product used in this study…yep, green tea. And 30 other published studies show this same whole-food product to increase the health of all the cells in the body, not just the mouth.

  • Pedro

    How to prepare the Green Tea mouth wash? Is 1 tea bag enough? Thanks in advance for your input.

  • Colliemom

    Whoa, good to know. I’m wondering if this would work well for pets… green tea as an additive in a water dish.

    • Laloofah

      Wondered myself about green tea and our dogs – I’m going to start using it when I brush our dogs’ teeth daily (I don’t like to use the commercial dog toothpastes). Don’t see why it wouldn’t help! (Not sure about adding it to their water, since it has caffeine – unless you get decaf)

      • Wendy

        Check with your vet before giving him green tea. Some food is not recommended for even specific breeds.

        • Laloofah

          I’m only using it (white tea thus far, rather than green) to dip the toothbrush in when I brush their teeth to help with plaque prevention. Not the same as “giving” them green tea, but hope Colliemom will see your advice.

          • Wendy

            I can’t say for sure what is safe, as the gums absorb whatever goes in the mouth and dogs are going to swallow some of whatever goes in their mouths. My family worked for vets growing up and I was surprised by what was toxic for some dogs such as xylitol, grapes and grape products. Some say avocados can be toxic, yet there is an avocado based dog food at Petco. That plaque dissolving mint spray was not recommended by some. Nutritional clays such as Redmond’s can be okay for some breeds but not for Bassets.

          • Laloofah

            I decided to check the ASPCA website, since they have the most comprehensive information of what is safe and what is toxic for dogs (and cats) I’ve ever found. Rather than pore through their huge database, I did a search for “green tea” (white tea didn’t come up), and this was the result:

            Q: Can dogs drink green tea?
            - Alice E.

            A: Alice, while we generally do not advocate offering people food to pets, decaffeinated green tea can cause minor stomach upset if ingested, and it may still be possible for mild hyperactivity to occur from large ingestions. The bottom line? An occasional lick or two of a green tea beverage (provided there are no herbs or xylitol added) should not pose a problem—but we would not recommend letting your dog consume more than that.

  • Kelly

    Can you keep a jar of water with a tea bag in it on your counter all of the time? Also, is white tea just as good or better or is it best to use green tea?

  • laura

    What about non prescription mouth wash. Listerine etc.?

  • Kelly Lambert

    Dr. Greger, I thought the tannins in green tea stain your teeth? I’ve recently stopped drinking all caffeine including green and white tea.

    • Dylan

      The exact thought on my mind. Less bacteria and better health is important, but I’ve always been advised to use a straw to avoid tannin stains from tea and coffee (particularly black tea). I wonder if having the tea hot or cold makes a difference…. anyone have thoughts or ideas on this?

      • Youcef

        @disqus_s2fN3lqS1u:disqus

        @kellylambert:disqus Hi, look the answer to @laloofah:disqus right above.

  • george

    I’m intrigued by the results with amla, which contains a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C being acidic, wouldn’t amla cause cavities? The researchers probably used amla that had been dried using heat which destroyed the vitamin C in amla. Or, the study was not long enough to make any adverse effects of amla evident.

    • Adrien

      Vitamin C is not a strong acid, If I remember correctly. Anyway, Amla is really not just vitamin C, I would say that reasoning is reductionist. The positive effect of Amla is probably due to many chemical, and maybe by synergistic effect with one another, which probably overcome the bad outcome of the vitamin C. This making the whole greater than the sum of its parts : Nutrition 101.

      • george

        Adrien: Thank you for the response. I don’t remember the pKa values of vitamin C and lactic acid, which is mainly responsible for tooth decay caused by bacteria , but based on their structures, I don’t expect them to be very different in acidity. I’m also aware that those who take vitamin C powder are advised to rinse the mouth immediately after consumption. But I agree with you; although fresh amla has a lot of vitamin C, most dried amla powders in the market don’t have any. The brand I use in my shakes and smoothies has 70% RDA of vitamin C per serving. I wouldn’t use it for swishing, just to be safe.

    • Adrien

      Vitamin C is not a strong acid, If I remember correctly. Anyway, Amla is really not just vitamin C, I would say that reasoning is reductionist. The positive effect of Amla is probably due to many chemical, and maybe by synergistic effect with one another, which probably overcome the bad outcome of the vitamin C. This making the whole greater than the sum of its parts : Nutrition 101.

      • Katelyn Hg

        Vitamin C, which is usually referring to Ascorbic Acid, is indeed a weak acid. Our chem professor had us memorize the 6 common strong acids in general chemistry because it was easier to remember them since essentially everything else will be weak acids. Ascorbic acid is not one of the 6: HCl, HBr, HI, HNO3, HClO4 and H2SO4. So that trick might help you too. :)

        “Vitamin C” also comes in the form of a mineral salt too. Sodium Ascorbate. It’s a less known form, but I think it’s interesting to know. :)

  • Diana

    So, yell at me and please tell me why I must stop rinsing my mouth with peroxide. I love to do it but fear there are dangers. Does anyone know? Thanks Loads.

    • Wendy

      Straight peroxide can erode the gums. Be sure to dilute it with water.

  • English Foundations

    This is great information. The only problem, the Indian restaurants in area do not even know about the fruit ( Amla ). There are no stores in our (Clarksville, TN) city or in Nashville that I know of. Can you help?

    • largelytrue

      Amla is more medicinal than culinary. Major Indian grocers do carry it but in areas where the ethnic community is smaller you may not be able to find it easily. It tends to be very expensive for its (dry) weight so you might just look into getting it online.

    • Thea

      English: Following up on largelytrue’s recommendation to get it on line, I like the site Mountain Rose Herbs. They sell various forms, including powdered amla.

      https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/search?page=1&q=amla&utf8=%E2%9C%93

      • English Foundations

        Thank You>

      • guest

        Be very careful. Alma is a nightshade, apparently, and those with joint and pain issues should consider avoiding all nightshades at all costs. They have bodies unlike those of the average human, and it seems to make things way worse, and possibly prevent healing. Abstinence is the key for many people. Yes, there are good things in some nightshades, but for those adversely affected by nightshades, the good things can be like putting gas on fire. And even be what causes the fire in the first place.

        • george

          I’m no botanist, but, as I understand from Wikipedia, amla is not a nightshade.

        • Katelyn Hg

          Are you thinking of Alma-as in the alma paprika pepper? (Capsicum annuum) Peppers (genus Capsicum) are indeed part of the nightshade
          family but the amla (Phyllanthus emblica) Dr. Greger is referring to comes from a tree and not a member of the nightshade family. I think what happened here was a confusing of where the “l” in amla went. This is why, IMHO, scientific names are far superior to “common names.” Less confusion. :)

          (warning: I’m not a botanist, just a science nerd)

    • george

      I buy mine on amazon from a company called Terrasoul. The quality is great. It even has a lot of vitamin C intact, meaning that it’s dried under gentle conditions.

      • Ben

        I get Terrasoul from amazon as well! I’m happy with it.

        • sf_jeff

          I bought acai from Terrasoul. It came with a story of how christianity saved one of the founders from drug dependency. All I could think about was a million dead Iraqis at the hands of the christian voting block.

  • natlp

    what about white tea???

    • Youcef

      Hi @natlp:disqus I answered above to someone who asked the same question.

  • Thea

    Volume 20 is one of my favorites in the recent set of volumes. And this video is one of the top three. I love how practical and indepth it is. And who knew there would be yet one more use for amla? Cool!

  • Zennifer

    I buy organic Amla powder on Amazon. Be sure to get certified organic, and get it powdered because the dried Amla fruit is like ROCKS. I bought a device to fill capsules and I eat 2-4 capsules of Amla a day because it’s so good for you (anti-oxidants). But it doesn’t taste very good.

    • Blanster

      Zennifer I’m with you on the amla taste. Dr Greger had me until he added amla. Bleccccch! I’d rather just take it my amla in capsules that I make so I don’t have to taste it. :)

    • Val

      I’ve been buying the TerraSoul certified organic amla powder on amazon too…it’s around $11 per bag. I just mix the amla into my morning berry mixture (which I do in a blender, it’s more like a pudding than a smoothie) or into my oats.

  • Nancy

    just watched the oral health video…..I am a dental hygienist and see green tea stain on teeth all the time. In my mind, using green tea as an oral rinse doesn’t seem reasonable considering the huge amount of stain it will produce. There are other ways to reduce bacteria and not cause stain or ill effects. A very dilute solution of sodium hydroxide (bleach like Clorox) will reduce bacteria and not harm oral health.

    • Thea

      Nancy: Do you think that the stain you see in your patients is just an aesthetics issue? Or a health issue?

      The distinction matters for me. I don’t personally care if I have super pearly white teeth. In fact, I think super white adult teeth look fake and unattractive. So, if it is just aesthetics, that’s not an issue for me.

      Plus, I have to wonder: If someone were truly going to use green tea (with or without amla) only to rinse a couple times a day – without also drinking it all day long (losing those benefits), would there really likely be a stain problem? If staining is really a problem for someone, I think it would be helpful for people to know whether the issue is really a few mouth washings or is really an issue with drinking a lot of it.

      What do you think?

      • Coacervate

        sodium hydroxide is not bleach. It is caustic and there is no reason for it to be used in your mouth. Bleach is sodium hypochlorite and I was taught that it is a safe disinfectant at very dilute levels. However I have burned my degrees, literally.

        I had a chem prof. at uni who used to dilute DDT on the first day of class to 1 molecule per glass and drink it. This much I know is true: The dose makes the poison.

        EVERYONE! …. Lets be careful out there.

        I thought we wanted the bacteria to convert nitrate to nitric oxide?

    • Thea

      One more question or thing to consider: is sodium hydroxide bad for the environment? I did a super-quick search and it didn’t look good. I would have to do a more careful search to get a good answer. But I think this would be a good issue to consider.

      One person using the diluted ratio you are referring to would probably not cause any environmental harm. But the planet is currently, severely over populated with humans. What would happen to the environment if lots of people jumped on this bandwagon? I don’t know the answer. It is an honest question for people to think about. To focus a bit more: I’m thinking about how we flush so many drugs down the toilet that our drinking water is shows signs of prescription medications. Little bits can add up to serious problems.

      • Katelyn Hg

        The biggest issue here is what name we are giving for “bleach.” Sodium
        hydroxide, chemical formula NaOH is NOT bleach. Not in the slightest! It
        is a strong base, and also goes by the name of “Lye.” (The ingredient
        used to make soap, if some of you are familiar) If you are not familiar
        with it as an ingredient in soap making, it also can be used as a drain
        cleaner. It is used as a drain cleaner because it is HIGHLY CORROSIVE to
        the proteins that make up your hair and skin and will dissolve them!

        This
        is NOT something you want to be messing around with if you do not know
        what it is. Many people think of acids when they think of chemical
        burns, but strong bases will burn you VERY badly as well. In fact, if
        you get a Sodium Hydroxide (lye) solution on your skin it will give you
        severe burns-not only will it burn you, but when NaOH mixes with water
        it also has an exothermic reaction (produces heat), so it will be hot
        too….

        The chemical formula for bleach you are looking for is
        NaClO which is written as sodium hypochlorite you may have also heard of
        hypoclorous acid (That’s the form of chlorine common for pool water)

        Sorry
        for the long rant, but I only just finished my second semester college
        chemistry course, and I get a bit nervous when I see people confusing
        chemicals. I’m nowhere near a Chemist yet-but I definitely think that
        people should at least be well versed in the information provided from a
        general chemistry course for safety reasons if nothing else…..

        Be safe everyone! :)

    • george

      Nancy: what about green tea liquid extract? I’m not entirely sure but I don’t think green tea extract has tannins.

    • Coacervate

      Do not wash your mouth with sodium hydroxide at any concentration. There is no possible benefit and lots of potential harm. Read all advice from the internet with a large grain of sodium chloride. B-bird’s the word.

  • http://bibiviro.com BIBI VIRO

    Wow! And so easy to do. Thank you Dr Greger.

  • cyndishisara

    How about xylitol? It is magic in preventing cavities.

  • Suzanne

    Here is Japan, we use green tea for everything, including gargling.

  • Julot Julott

    Hello, i seen the 2012 video on eggs and B12 (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/safest-source-of-b12/ ) but do we know if B12 from either cooked or raw eggs can still be absorbed?

  • 48south

    Hi, I’m really glad Dr. Greger posted this info. I also read his notes below about Cold Steeping Green Tea, and Amala powder. I’m wondering if you recommend adding lemon juice to the mouthwash mix. I remember Dr. Greger mentioning that in a earlier video about green tea. Thanks for your reply.

    • Thea

      48south: I’m not 100% sure, but going strictly on memory (which may be faulty): the bit about lemon and tea was about getting white tea to have more antioxidants than green. Without the lemon, the white tea had less antioxidants. This has nothing to do with oral health.

      I do not believe that anyone would recommend lemon juice in a mouthwash because (based on memory of another video), the lemon is acidic and acidic foods like citrus can, if memory serves, erode the enamal. I think I remember that we should be careful not to brush our teeth immediately after eating citrus, because we do not want to push the acid into our teeth.

      Maybe someone else will jump in to confirm what I wrote here, but if not, I’m sure you could find those videos.

    • 48south

      Thea thank you for the reply. That’s very helpful. Now I’m on a quest to find a good source of Amla powder. :-)

      • b00mer

        Hi 48south, I’ve gotten mine from Banyan Botanicals. Good pricing, organic, and they have good statements on their site regarding quality control (heavy metals, microbial, and identification) and ethical sourcing of products.

  • david

    It’s really very informative that I wanted ever, thanks for this.
    https://sites.google.com/site/bestreviewhd/abs-the-secret-revealed-review

  • Darryl

    For those racing to check their mouthwash label, in the U.S. chlorhexidene is only used in prescription mouthwashes for advanced gum disease and post-surgical care.

  • Gabriel

    Hi. What can I use instead of Amla?

  • FreshAsVeggies

    Will this work with DECAF green tea? I don’t consume anything with caffeine. And must it stay refrigerated? I noticed someone else asked that but didn’t receive a response.

    • Youcef

      Why don’t you look it up on pubmed or sciencedirect.com?

  • Wesanda

    I wanted to know what brand of green tea do you recommend?
    Thanks

    • Youcef

      Not sure if there would be a significant difference from different green teas but it’s a good question. Also, geographic origins would be more reliable than brands, since brands may source in different regions anyway. If you really want to know the answer you’d have to find a study on levels of “catechins, especially epigalllocatechin-gallate” in different varieties of green tea. I know that not even varieties but growing methods alone can change mineral content or vitamin content up to ~10-fold, so the catechin content may as well be affected. You should be expecting to find some differences.
      Then you’d have to look into how these varying concentrations (if any found) would affect the bacteria populations, and finally find a dry green tea dose that would do a good job regardless what green tea you get. That’s how I would do it from only reading if I really want a proper answer to your question. There are other ways I’m thinking of but would require equipement.

  • TwoWheels

    Will DECAF green tea work just as well? And does the mixture have to be refrigerated?

    • Youcef

      Supposing only some of the active ingredients are lost in the decafeination process (you can research that) then as long as the mouth pH is kept high you’re fine. Look the article I posted above, it should be able to apply to decaf tea, although it’s weaker and you might need more relatively.

  • Ilana

    Because of previous videos, I drink a combination of green, white, and hibiscus loose tea. Is this enough to prevent cavities or do I need to drink plain green tea? Is there a certain amount of tea I should drink?

  • Susan Vickers

    So…just on the phone with my brother who bought an organic green tea,put one tea bag in a litre of water,and rinsed his mouth…it has turned his teeth brown!!!!! he is horrified(always had beautiful white teeth),also stained the porcelain in the sink brown!! What has happened? How to restore previous whitenss to his teeth?

    • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

      The same happened to me. Tried gargling with white tea for a few weeks – got horrible discolorations on most teeth :(

      • Susan Vickers

        What did you do to restore your teeth to their natural colour? This is definitely a negative outcome isn’t it? so let me pick …brown teeth or decreased bacteria…..hmmmmmmm

        • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

          I don’t use it as a mouthwash anymore. And when I drink tea, now I try to swallow as fas as possible, to minimise contact with my teeth as recommended by my dentist.

  • Chris Hamilton

    Would white tea work better than green?

    • Youcef

      Hi @disqus_oeutLF6UNF:disqus

      I tried to answer this question to someone who asked it too. Cheers.

  • Diana17

    Thanks so much for this information. I am curious about other products now. I was wondering what facial skin care products Dr. Greger would recommend (what products or what product line-brand name). There are so many out there, many of them VERY pricey! I would love to know the real truth about what to use. I am 51 and my main concerns are sagging skin and brown spots. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated! I’m tired of spending over $100.00 on one bottle of face cream. Thank you!

  • Youcef

    Hi everyone,
    Many of the comments asked questions relative to how to prepare a green tea mouthwash, if white tea can be used, decaf, etc…I had the same questions so I did a bit of research to find the answers. All compiled here:
    http://www.youcefbanouni.com/988/science-based-recipe-for-green-tea-and-white-tea-mouthwash/

  • Mel

    Is one green tea bag equivalent to 5 grams of green tea in your recipe? What about Moraccan Mint green tea vs. plain green tea? How much do I reduce the green tea if my container (glass jar) is only 16 fluid ounces (473 ml)? How long is it good for sitting on the bathroom counter. Refrigerator storage is not an option. Due to gingivitis my teeth are sensitive to cold.

    • Youcef

      1) Don’t be too obsessed about a strict recipe, because concentratioon of the active ingredients can vary 10-fold from a green tea to another. If you read the post I shared, what matters is that your green tea is potent enough to pass the pH test. It’s all about concentration of the ingredients in your green tea, not so much about how much green tea in your mouthwash, that’s what makes it tricky to produce at home vs. in a lab.
      2) Not sure what the mint would add, and I believe your tea is moroccan green tea if you say it, I am just surprised because moroccan mint tea normally uses black tea.
      3) Shelf-life: In the experiment the green tea was used for 3 weeks. If you put something in the gridge it surely shouldn’t be th emouthwash to be used but rather the “mother solution”, meaning the bulk of it.

    • Mel

      Test the ph with paper strips you buy where? The label on my Moroccan mint says “green tea, spearmint, lemongrass, and peppermint” made by Stash. Home ph test was not explained. Can you simplify your response?

  • Youcef

    For those interested to have the recipe and instructions based on the studies presented in the video, or wondering whether white tea can be used, or how much amla to use, I adressed all these here : http://www.youcefbanouni.com/988/science-based-recipe-for-green-tea-and-white-tea-mouthwash/
    Notably, I raised the problem of the variation in catechins content (incl. EGCG) found in green tea and how that is very likely to affect the potency of any homemade mouthwash that follows a strict recipe. But I proposed a simple hack to go around that and actually test the potency of your green tea extract before using it, regardless of the potency of the green/white tea you have.

  • barbarabrussels

    I have periodontal disease. And after 8+ months of being vegan (WFPB – nutrient dense), I have NO problems anymore (I don’t use regular toothpaste anymore either, I use sesame oil to swish twice a day, use a waterflosser and alternate brushing with baking soda and water from day to day) My teeth are very clean and my gums bleed very little. I’m pretty sure my pocket depths have improved also, since less debris is coming out when flossing now compared to some months ago. On top of that my chronic jaw pain has COMPLETELY vanished. I also drink a cup of amla tea every day when I get up in the morning ;-)

    • Thea

      barbarabrussels: A cup of amla tea. Wow. That is real dedication!!! :-) (Because many of us really don’t like the taste of amla.) Good for you!

    • Susan Vickers

      That happened with me as well. after 2 years of Starch Solution(Dr John McDougall)..my gums don’t bleed anymore,even with a dental cleaning…I don’t use any fats…wonder if the sesame absorbs sublingually?

  • Susan

    we wondered about two things with this. One is when we drink tea does that make us swallow all the bacteria that is our mouth? Two is if we drink the tea as it is with amla, which is what we now have in the fridge. Would that be bad, he wonders why he can’t just swallow it, because we drink tea once in a while and swallow it?