For Oral Health, Have a Tea Party

green tea cup and plants

Epidemiological studies evaluating the association of tea consumption and the risk of oral cancer risk have produced inconsistent results. Thus, the authors of a recent study conducted a meta-analysis (study of studies) to assess the relationship between tea consumption and oral cancer risk.

METHODS: Pertinent studies were identified by a search in PubMed, Web of Knowledge and Wan Fang Med Online. The fixed or random effect model was used based on heterogeneity test. Publication bias was estimated using Egger’s regression asymmetry test.

RESULTS: 14 articles with 19 studies comprising 4675 oral cancer cases were included in this meta-analysis. The relative risk (95% confidence interval) of oral cancer for the highest versus the lowest category of tea consumption was 0.853 (0.779-0.934), and the association was significant between oral cancer risk and green tea consumption [0.798 (0.673-0.947)] but not in the black tea consumption [0.953 (0.792-1.146)]. [This implies that you can reduce the risk by about 1/5th if you consume green tea.]

TAKE-AWAY MESSAGE: Tea consumption may have a protective effect on oral cancer, especially green tea consumption. Previous studies suggested that coffee may lower the risk of cancer of the mouth region, but now we know green tea may work, too! Obviously, more research is needed, but the link seems logical. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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Reference: Oral Oncol. 2014 Jan 2. pii: S1368-8375(13)00802-6. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2013.12.014. [Epub ahead of print]

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understandcancerin60minutes

Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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