OBJECTIVES: To investigate the composition of black tea in terms of its erosive potential. To determine the pH profile at the palatal surface of anterior and posterior sites of the dentition after drinking black tea. METHODS: Tea solution was analysed for its pH and anion composition to provide information on its acid content. A group of ten healthy subjects, aged 21-23 years were monitored for tooth surface pH on the palatal aspects of the maxillary anterior dentition and the maxillary molar dentition after drinking tea using a micro-pH electrode mounted on a vinyl splint. RESULTS: The pH of the tea solution was 4.9 and the major anions detected were oxalate and citrate. Tooth surface pH monitoring indicated that only small decreases in pH of less than 1 pH unit were observed after drinking tea and the minimum mean pH reached was 5.45. Maximum decrease in pH was observed after 20-25 seconds and resting pH levels were restored within approximately 2 minutes after drinking. CONCLUSION: The pH and anion profile of black tea are indicative of low acid composition. The very small pH decreases observed at the tooth surface after drinking tea indicate that it may be safely recommended as a substitute for more acidic drinks as a part of preventive measures for dental erosion.