Oh Great, Overconsumption of Tea Leads to Bone Problems, Tooth Decay

Staff Writer
A 47-year-old woman lost all her teeth and suffers from skeletal fluorosis thanks to a tea addiction

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

All that chatter about tea being healthy gives way to the old adage that "too much of a good thing" is, well, not that great. Just as soda rotted away the teeth of a 25-year-old, a 47-year-old woman has lost all her teeth thanks to a tea addiction.

According to a case review in the New England Journal of Medicine, a woman reported that for 17 years, she has had a pitcher of black tea a day, each pitcher made from 100 to 150 tea bags.

That's more than 20 milligrams of flouride a day, almost four times the normal amount.

Due to the increased intake in flouride, she was found to suffer from what might be skeletal flurosis, reporting a five-year history of pain in her lower back, arms, legs, and hips. The report notes that all her teeth had been removed due to brittleness.

Luckily, however, the patient has scaled back on her black tea consumption, but even so it can take several years for her bones to build back up. "Her bone density was very high, seven times denser than normal," her doctor Sudhaker Rao told the Fix. "It was like steel." Doesn't sound pleasant, but before you start scaling back on the tea, please consider that this woman was using 100 to 150 tea bags a day.

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