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Matcha tea, which is a special form of green tea, provides many benefits that make it a favorite among many people. It can also be substituted for coffee for those seeking a more “manageable” caffeine kick when you need it. However, like many other colored drinks, such as black tea and coffee, it may cause you to wonder if it will also stain your teeth.
And you would be right to wonder because, yes, like other teas, it does have the potential to also stain teeth but not as much as darker teas.
Matcha tea is a type of green tea that is available in powder form.
With traditional green tea, the tea leaves are steeped in hot water to release their various components. However, matcha is made from actual green tea leaves that have ground into a fine powder, so you get the full benefits of the entire green tea leaf, which makes it more potent than traditional green tea.
Matcha is also harvested and prepared differently than traditional green tea. To prepare matcha for harvesting, the tea plants are first shaded with special cloths, which helps enhance both the texture and the taste of the leaves, as well as their growth.
The leaves are then picked by hand and put through a steam process, which helps stop the breakdown of chemical substances contained within the leaves caused by various microorganisms.
Once the leaves are completely dry, they are then stored in a cool area, where they are left to mature, thus further improving the flavor.
The aged leaves are then finely ground into powder, which can then be enjoyed traditionally by mixing one teaspoon of the powder with a 1/3 cup of hot water and then whisking it until it froths, or it can be simply used for making various blended drinks, or you can even add it to many of your favorite recipes for added benefits. It can also be added to your skincare products.
In fact, because it is also a green tea, it also provides many of the same health benefits of green tea, including it is rich in polyphenols and EGCG, which are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to provide anti-aging benefits, help protect against and slow cancer growth, help lower the risk of heart disease, help lower blood pressure, help regulate blood sugar levels, and boost metabolism.
It also contains as much caffeine as in a cup of coffee but with different effects. Instead, it produces an attentive but tranquil sensation due to the presence of l-theanine, which is a natural substance found in green tea, that when combined with caffeine, increases alertness, mental clarity, and energy for increased mental endurance, and also helps relieve stress.
Match has also been shown to provide a host of benefits for your mouth.
How Matcha Helps Safeguard Your Oral Health
It Helps Prevent the Development of Bad Bacteria in Your Mouth
Bad bacteria is ever-present in your mouth, waiting to feed off the sugars in the foods you eat, which then converts the sugar into acid that can erode the enamel and cause cavities.
Matcha is extremely high in catechins, whose antibacterial properties destroy bacterial cell membranes, thus helping hinder the growth of bad bacteria in your mouth.
It Helps Fight Bad Breath
The antibacterial properties in matcha have also been shown to provide deodorizing effects that help reduce bad breath and have even been shown to be more effective than mints and chewing gums.
It Helps Protect Against Cavities
As stated previously, bacterial growth in your mouth produces acid on your teeth as it feeds off the sugars in the foods you eat, which wears away your tooth enamel and eventually leads to cavities.
However, since the catechins in matcha help destroy bad bacteria in your mouth, it also helps decrease the effects of acid on your teeth, which helps prevent cavities.
It May Help Protect Against Oral Cancer
The rich antioxidant effects of matcha have also been shown to potentially help stop cancer cell growth in the mouth. Meanwhile, the catechins in matcha are also known to help prevent cancer activity in the mouth and may even help manage existing oral cancer cells.
Matcha and Teeth Stains
Though matcha has been shown to provide many benefits for your oral health, over time, it can stain your teeth or make them more vulnerable to food and drink stains.
Like coffee, matcha also contains acidic tannins; therefore, they can wear away at your teeth and cause them to become more porous, which makes them more prone to stains. However, due to the catechins and chlorophyll in matcha, which help fight off bacteria, it will not stain your teeth as bad as coffee and other teas.
But there are some precautions you can take when drinking matcha to help prevent it from making your teeth more porous or from staining your teeth.
Add Milk, Cream, or Coffee Creamer to Your Matcha
Milk, cream, and coffee creamer help lighten or dilute the color of tea, which helps prevent it from staining your teeth. It also acts as a sort of buffer that adheres to the tannins in the tea, which helps prevent the acids from penetrating your enamel.
However, steer clear of adding excess sugar to your matcha latte, which can feed bad bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for forming the acids that break down the enamel that can lead to stains as well as cavities.
Rinse Your Mouth With Water After Drinking Matcha
Since matcha contains acids that stick to your teeth and erode the enamel, making it more susceptible to dental issues, it helps to rinse your mouth out with water after drinking it to help protect your teeth from absorbing or retaining any of the acids.
Brush Your Teeth Following Each Meal
Brushing your teeth after every meal is the best way to remove or prevent any acids that have accumulated on your teeth during a sugary meal or snack before it can begin to affect the enamel. In fact, an acid attack begins just within 20 minutes after eating or drinking. However, experts warn that you should rinse your mouth out with water first and then wait up to 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth in order to avoid scrubbing the teeth in a weakened state, which can cause the enamel to wear away even more.
Flossing every day helps keep your gums and teeth, as well as your enamel, strong and healthy by helping to remove food particles and bacteria between the teeth that can turn into enamel-eroding acids that damage your teeth and make them more prone to problems with your teeth and stains.
What Does Matcha Taste Like?
Since matcha is essentially a more potent version of green tea, it has a stronger taste. In fact, its taste has been compared to that of spinach or even grass. However, probably the best way to describe it is it has a pleasant taste other than salty, sweet, sour, or bitter. Therefore, many people often sweeten it to improve its taste, or they may simply opt for a powdered mix, which has been sweetened.
Related Article: Does Matcha Powder Expire? The Lifespan of Matcha Powder
Does the Type of Matcha Matter?
Experts warn that when it comes to matcha, quality is key. In other words, high quality, fresh, organic, pure matcha that has been certified and tested provides the highest benefits and without any contaminants; however, it can also be expensive.
Alternately, low priced matcha products are also often low quality, so they also contain other negative substances, such as pesticides and dangerous fillers, which can negatively impact your health.
Are There Any Side Effects or Risks With Matcha?
As great as matcha is, it does come with its share of side effects. For instance, drinking it in excess, or more than one cup per day, can cause stomach cramps and constipation. Drinking it on an empty stomach can also increase stomach acids in some people. Individuals with a sensitivity to caffeine may also experience issues such as dizziness, confusion, anxiousness, and irritation. It can also interact with certain medications and deplete iron in some people; therefore, if you are drinking matcha, you should increase your uptake of certain foods, such as foods high in vitamins C and A and red meats, poultry, and fish, that assist with iron consumption.
Furthermore, matcha, even tea plants grown without pesticides, have been shown to contain lead, which is absorbed by the plant from the environment. Just making sure to stick to brands sourced from Japan because they are held to stricter regulations and testing, similar to the U.S. and European Union.
On the other hand, when making traditional green tea, once the leaves are steeped, the leaves, which contain approximately 90% of the lead, are discarded, which means you are exposed to less lead. However, with matcha, since the entire leaf is used, it exposes you to more lead, depending on the brand; therefore, it is recommended to only drink one cup of matcha per day and avoid giving it to children.