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Why does drinking tea make my mouth dry? How to avoid this?

Why does drinking tea make my mouth dry? How to avoid this?-Orientaleaf

1. What is the experience of feeling dry mouth when drinking tea?

Drinking tea makes my mouth dry, which is an unpleasant physical experience. When this happens, you can feel a lack of saliva in your mouth, and your tongue and oral mucosa seem to become dry, with an astringent and uncomfortable feeling. It's as if some of the moisture in your mouth has been sucked away, and your throat feels tight and dry when you swallow, making you want to drink some water to moisten it.

It may also be accompanied by a slight feeling of heat as if the body's water regulation has been temporarily thrown off balance. This dry mouth sensation can last a while and make you crave water. It is more persistent and noticeable than simply feeling thirsty.

2. Why does drinking tea make my mouth dry?

2.1 Problems with tea production and manufacturing

There may be problems in the production and processing of the tea leaves themselves. For example, insufficient firing or excessive fermentation temperature during the heaping process may lead to abnormal components in the tea leaves, which can cause dryness when consumed. For example:

  • Changes in the content and structure of tea polyphenols
  • Abnormal content or properties of alkaloids such as caffeine
  • Increased aldehydes and ketones

2.2 Improper brewing method

Too hot water can cause some undesirable substances in the tea leaves to be released quickly and in large quantities, leading to dryness. This includes:

  • Tannic acid: Excessive tannic acid can increase the astringency in the mouth, leading to dryness.

  • Decomposition of products of some aromatic substances: High water temperature can cause some initially pleasant aromatic substances to decompose into unpleasant components, which can also cause discomfort, such as dryness.

2.3 Poor tea quality

If the tea leaves are contaminated, spoiled, or of poor quality, they may also cause discomfort, such as dryness. If the tea leaves are spoiled during storage due to improper environmental conditions, such as dampness and mold, harmful substances such as mycotoxins may breed in the tea leaves. 

Drinking such spoiled tea can cause dryness but also cause gastrointestinal discomfort and other symptoms. In addition, some tea leaves of poor quality may be made from poor-quality raw materials or highly rough processing techniques, resulting in some undesirable chemicals or impurities in the tea leaves. Drinking tea leaves can also cause dryness and uncomfortable feelings, such as bad breath and a tight throat.

2.4 Individual physical constitution

Individual physical factors cannot be ignored. Some people may be more sensitive to specific components in tea leaves and are more likely to experience reactions such as dryness. For example, some people may have a more sensitive and unique constitution and show a more robust response to specific components in tea leaves.

For example, some people may be susceptible to caffeine in tea leaves. Even if they do not consume a large amount, they may experience reactions such as dryness, rapid heartbeat, and insomnia due to the effects of caffeine. Others may be sensitive to unique aromatic substances or other chemicals in some teas. When they drink such teas, their bodies may experience dryness, throat discomfort, and even mild allergic reactions such as skin itching and rash.

In addition, some physically weak people have poor gastrointestinal function or are in special physiological periods, such as pregnant and breastfeeding women. Due to their physical constitution, they may also be more likely to experience discomfort, such as dryness, when drinking tea. This may be because their bodies are weaker in metabolizing and adapting to the components in tea.

2.5 Matching tea with other foods

It may be related to other foods eaten at the same time. Some foods may interact with tea and cause dryness.

When drinking tea, some foods with intense flavors and strong stimuli, such as spicy foods like chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns, or high-salt foods like pickles and cured meats, may produce some complex chemical reactions or interactions in the body, which can lead to a feeling of dryness.

Some foods, such as unripe fruits, maybe sour and astringent. When they also have a strong astringency in themselves, they enter the body together with tea; they may interact with the tea leaves' components, inhibit the secretion in the mouth, and thus lead to dryness.

In addition, some high-protein foods, such as meat and eggs, may also cause discomfort, such as dryness, when paired with certain types of tea due to changes in the digestive process. The specific conditions under which different foods interact with other types of tea to cause dryness may also vary, depending on the particular characteristics of the food and tea and the individual's physical condition.

2.6 Impact of the Tea Drinking Environment

Drinking tea in dry and hot environments can quickly make you feel dry. When in a dry climate, the moisture content in the air is low, which can accelerate the evaporation of moisture in the mouth. Even if the tea itself is regular, the dry environment can make it difficult for the mouth to maintain its normal moist state, making it easier to feel a dry mouth. The same is true in high-temperature environments. High temperatures can cause the body to sweat more, leading to faster loss of body water. At this time, the saliva in the mouth will also decrease accordingly. In addition to drinking tea, this dry mouth feeling may be aggravated. For example, in the hot summer, drinking tea indoors without suitable moisturizing and cooling measures or outdoors in high temperature and dry places is more likely to experience apparent dryness than in a room temperature and humidity environment. Moreover, the impact of these environmental factors may persist. Even after stopping to drink tea, the feeling of dry mouth may take some time to relieve because the body needs to replenish water and adjust to a relatively balanced state.

3. How to Avoid Dry Mouth When Drinking Tea?

Choose high-quality tea

  • Select high-quality tea leaves that have been processed correctly. Avoid buying low-quality tea that may have problems.

  • Different types of tea have different optimal water temperatures. Be sure to research and follow the appropriate water temperature for your tea.

  • Store tea properly to prevent it from becoming damp, contaminated, or spoiled. This will help ensure its quality.

Brew tea correctly

  • Use the appropriate water temperature. Avoid using too hot water, damaging the tea leaves, and releasing undesirable substances.

  • Do not overbrew the tea, making it bitter and astringent.

  • Use filtered water if possible, as this can help improve the tea's taste.

Avoid certain specific foods while tea-time.

  • Avoid eating foods that may interact with tea and cause dryness, such as spicy, salty, high-protein, or astringent foods.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which can help to keep your body hydrated.

Be aware of your body's sensitivity to caffeine.

  • If you are sensitive to caffeine, avoid drinking caffeinated tea altogether.

  • Limit your intake to a few cups daily if you drink caffeinated tea.

Drink tea in a relaxed, humid environment.

  • Avoid drinking tea in hot, dry environments, as this can make your mouth feel even drier.

  • If you are drinking tea outside, try to find a shady spot and bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.

Good tea-drinking habits

  • Staying hydrated throughout the day is essential, even without drinking tea.

  • Drink tea according to the correct methods and time intervals.

Follow these tips, and you should be able to enjoy your tea without dry mouth. 

Author: Cary Woo

Author: Cary Woo

Cary Woo has been working in the tea industry for over 10 years and has run a tea house for over 6 years, serving thousands of tea enthusiasts each year. He has a deep passion for various types of Chinese tea and is also the operator of Orientaleaf. He advocates for Orientaleaf's business philosophy: "We only sell tea that we have personally enjoyed and believe to be of high quality." He hopes to make the beauty of Chinese tea accessible to tea enthusiasts worldwide through simple means.

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