We’ve done some research to identify the best tea for bad breath and have identified the following list of black teas. More info on how we’ve identified these teas can be found below.

The List

  1. Darjeeling from India
  2. Ceylon from Sri Lanka
  3. English Breakfast from Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya

Research & Reasoning

Black tea improves bad breath due to it’s high amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants that keep plaque from sticking on your teeth and inhibit bacterial growth in your mouth, including the bacteria known to cause bad breath.

Tea contains a few different polyphenols, but the primary two are theaflavin and catechin. Theaflavin is the polyphenol found in tea that has been shown to reduce the bacteria known to cause bad breath. Generally speaking, the amount of each functions much like a see-saw. When catechin count is high, theaflavin count is low, and vice versa.

So to find the best tea for bad breath, we need to find a black tea with the highest natural theaflavin content. We did some research to identify a list of black teas in with the highest known content of theaflavin. Tea’s with a high content of theaflavin have the following distinct characteristics:

  1. Grown at high elevations (> 4000ft)
  2. Have a bitter, astringent taste
  3. Have a lighter orange or red color
  4. Have a more concentrated aroma

It’s important to note that theaflavins are formed during a specific stage of the fermentation or semi-fermentation process of tea. Only black tea and some oolong tea will contain theaflavin.

How do know theaflavin helps with bad breath? In 2003 Professor Christine Wu, associate dean for research at the University of Chicago College of Dentistry, presented findings on a clinical study showing that polyphenols found in black tea:

  • Prevent the growth of bacteria in your mouth that is the source of bad breath
  • Reduce the bacteria’s production of smelly gases

More on that work can be found in our broader guide to black tea and bad breath.


  1. Abstracts, American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, Washington, D.C., May 18-22, 2003. News release publication by University of Illinois, Chicago. Presentation by Professor Christine Wu, associate dean for research at the university’s College of Dentistry
  2. The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: The Most Complete Guide to Natural Healing
  3. Black tea a potent remedy against bad breath
  4. Theaflavins in Black Tea and Catechins in Green Tea Are Equally Effective Antioxidants
  5. The Science of Ceylon

Thank you, we hope you enjoyed the article.

Coastal Tea Company

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