We investigated the anticancer effects of green and black tea polyphenols alone and in combination with bovine milk lactoferrin (bLF) on human tongue squamous carcinoma (CAL-27) and normal human gingival fibroblast (HGF) cells. Both green (Polyphenon-E;P-E) and black tea polyphenols (Polyphenon-B;P-B) preferentially inhibit the growth of CAL-27 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Based on the IC50 values, P-E was found to be more effective than P-B and the combination of P-E and bLF (1:2 ratio) exhibited synergistic inhibition of CAL-27 cells. Analysis of the mechanism revealed nuclear fragmentation and condensation with appearance of the Ao peak indicative of apoptosis. Furthermore, tea polyphenols transduced the apoptosis signal via generation of reactive oxygen species and decrease in the Bcl-2/Bax ratio thereby inducing mitochondrial permeability transition with consequent activation of caspase-3. Overall, the potency of cytotoxic and apoptosis inducing effects of dietary agents on CAL-27 cells was in the order P-E and bLF combination (1:2 ratio) > P-E > P-B. These results suggest that a “designer” approach may be useful for oral cancer prevention strategies.