Green tea promotes healthy teeth and gums

According to a recent study, the antioxidants in green tea could be the key to preventing periodontal disease.

Green tea is a popular beverage choice in Asian culture. It has been around for more than 4,000 years, and is becoming more popular in the United States. Ancient Chinese and Japanese medicine consider the consumption of green tea as a reliable cure for diseases, and it is even believed that the drink can help heal wounds.

Now, recent scientific studies are starting to realize the possible health benefits of drinking green tea, especially for “weight loss, heart health[,] and cancer prevention.”

Based on the latest study published in the Journal of Periodontology, the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), green tea consumption has another benefit. Scientists have determined that regularly drinking green tea can also help promote healthy teeth and gums. The study monitored the periodontal health of 940 men, and the results indicate that those who regularly drank green tea had better periodontal health than those who consumed less green tea.

Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, said, “It has been long speculated that green tea possesses a host of health benefits.”

He continued, “And since many of us enjoy green tea on a regular basis, my colleagues and I were eager to investigate the impact of green tea consumption on periodontal health, especially considering the escalating emphasis on the connection between periodontal health and overall health.”

The participants, who were aged 49 to 59, were examined on three indicators of periodontal disease: periodontal pocket depth (PD), clinical attachment loss (CAL) of gum tissue, and bleeding on probing (BOP) of the gum tissue. The researchers observed that drinking one cup of green tea daily resulted in a decrease in all three indicators, which indicates a lower instance of periodontal disease in subjects who regularly drank green tea.

It is possible that green tea can help reduce the symptoms of periodontal disease because the drink contains the antioxidant catechin. Earlier studies have confirmed that catechin can reduce inflammation in the body, and the indicators of periodontal disease measured in this study (PD, CAL, and BOP), suggest an inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria in the mouth.

Since it interferes with the body’s inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria, it’s possible that green tea can help promote periodontal health and prevent further disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth, and it is associated with the progression of other diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Dr. David Cochran, DDS, Ph.D., President of the AAP and Chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, commented, “Periodontists believe that maintaining healthy gums is absolutely critical to maintaining a healthy body.” He added, “That is why it is so important to find simple ways to boost periodontal health, such as regularly drinking green tea—something already known to possess certain health-related benefits.”

Other benefits of green tea

Aside from boosting dental health, green tea has other health benefits:

  • Alzheimer’s disease — The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea decreases the production of beta-amyloid, a protein that forms the plaques that clog the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s.
  • Cardiovascular disease — Drinking green tea prevents heart disease and stroke by lowering the level of cholesterol. After a heart attack, green tea can still prevent cell deaths and speed up the recovery of heart cells. The drink helps keep blood pressure down by repressing angiotensin, which causes high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes — Green tea helps improve lipid and glucose metabolism, prevents a sudden increase in blood sugar levels, and balances one’s metabolic rate.
  • Immunity  — The polyphenols and flavonoids in green tea help boost the immune system, and it improves one’s health and resistance to infection.

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