News Release

Green tea boosts antimicrobial properties of toothpaste

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Society for Microbiology

WASHINGTON, DC – May 20, 2003 – Studies conducted at Pace University have indicated that green tea extracts (GTE) and polyphenol (PP) have an adverse effect on bacteria that cause strep throat, dental caries, and other infections. Additionally, the research suggests that the oral agents such as toothpaste and mouthwash are more effective in fighting pathogenic microbial agents, such as viruses, with the addition of GTE and PP. Researchers present their findings today at the 103rd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology

"The New York Times recently reported [Study Concludes Tea Helps Fight Infection, April 2003] that tea stimulates the immune system to fight disease," says Milton Schiffenbauer, Ph.D., a microbiologist and professor in the Department of Biology at Pace University's Dyson College of Arts & Sciences and primary author of the research. "Our research shows tea extracts can destroy the organism that causes disease. If we can stimulate the immune system and at the same time we are destroying the organisms, then it makes sense to drink more tea."

All teas contain polyphenols or antioxidants that protect human cells from reactive atoms (free radicals) that are responsible for body tissue damage. "Flavorids" are a group of polyphenols that occur naturally in tea. It is suspected that the concentration level of these polyphenols in the body is responsible for the beneficial properties of tea. Polyphenols may also contribute to the prevention of various types of cancer, including pancreas, colon, bladder, prostate and breast cancer.

Several findings are of particular interest:

  • The anti-viral effect of green tea is much more substantial than the anti-viral effects of either black or white teas.
  • Results using Eden organic green teas indicate that green tea extract from tea bags is more effective than loose tea, filtered or unfiltered. In regard to Stash green tea, loose unfiltered tea was more effective than tea bags.
  • Caffeinated green and black teas are more effective as anti-viral agents than decaffeinated green and black teas.
  • Teas and polyphenol extract may have applications in the inactivation of human pathogenic viruses.


Dr. Schiffenbauer can be reached at (212) 346-1968 or

Pace is a comprehensive, independent University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County, and a Hudson Valley Center located at Stewart Airport in New Windsor. Nearly 14,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of Education, Lienhard School of Nursing and Pace Law School. (

This release is a summary of a presentation from the 103rd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, May 18-22, 2003, in Washington, DC. Additional information on these and other presentations at the 103rd ASM General Meeting can be found online at or by contacting Jim Sliwa ( in the ASM Office of Communications. The phone number for the General Meeting Press Room is (202) 249-4064 and will be active from 12:00 noon EDT, May 18 until 12:00 noon EDT, May 22.

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