Black tea may in fact be the the best natural remedy for bad breath. It contains a polyphenol antioxidant called theaflavin which is known to suppress the growth of bad breath bacteria by 30% and reduce the production of compounds that cause bad breath.
Nobody likes bad breath, at least nobody I’ve ever met. Unfortunately getting rid of bad breath is surprising difficult. There’s no bad breath cure, and there are certainly no shortage of bad breath products available but most do little or nothing to help. Natural remedies do exist and can involve potent and borderline in-edible (tasting) herbs. If you’re looking for a better alternative to natural bad breath remedies that may seem like witch craft, then you may want to consider drinking a cup of black tea everyday.
Black Tea & Bad Breath: A Better Natural Remedy
Natural remedies for bad breath include various DIY herbal assortments such as: alfalfa sprouts, parsley, peppermint, dill, fennel, sage, licorice, dandelion goldenseal, echinacea, wild yam, myrrh, lemon, and even chlorophyll tablets. Some of these may have legitimate and notable benefits, but they all pose the same problem:
- Most only serve to mask the bad breath temporarily, rather than solve the underlying issues
- They taste pretty disgusting
Having a helping of herbs each day isn’t the most ideal solution for most people, and it’s really only a temporary fix.
Black tea may be a better solution to bad breath for some, especially because it’s a realistic addition to anyone’s daily diet. Scientific studies have shown that black tea will improve bad breath due to a high amount of polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occuring antioxidants that keep plaque from sticking on your teeth. Polyphenols also inhibit bacterial growth in your mouth, including the bacteria known to cause bad breath.
How do we know this? 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
The work was done along side Dr Min Zhu, one of her colleagues. A full citation on the study can be found at the bottom of this article.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath is ultimately caused by bacteria on the surface of the tongue and in the throat. These bacteria break down food and release smelly sulphur compounds from the back of your tongue and throat.
There isn’t a single cause or source of bad breath bacteria, it’s more or less a condition that’s the result of various possible scenarios. The most common causes of bad breath bacteria include:
- A diet with lots of strong smelling foods such as garlic and onions
- Diabetes or other metabolic diseases
- Tooth decay (even a small amount)
- Chronic dry mouth or dehydration
It’s important to note that 90% of all bad breath starts in your mouth. Specifically, the ama on the back of your tongue is (technically) the source of the bad smell. This is where sulfur compounds are created when anaerobic bacteria break down food.2
In the laboratory study we mentioned earlier Doctor’s Wu and Zhu added tea polyphenols with three common species of bad breath bacteria for 48 hours. They found that the bacteria was reduced by about 30% as a result.
We hope this helps you understand and solve bad breath, if drinking black tea solves bad breath for you then we consider that a victory for us! We are a tea company, but we don’t actually suggest any of our teas for fighting bad breath. If we had to give you a recommendation try a good loose leaf english breakfast tea. English Breakfast seems to have the highest volume of theaflavin polyphenols, which is the antioxidant known to fight bad breath.
- 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
- The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: The Most Complete Guide to Natural Healing
- WebMD: Tea Fights Bad Breath, Mouth Bacteria
- Black tea a potent remedy against bad breath
Thank you, we hope you enjoyed the article.