Green tea may well be a treat for your taste buds. But new research is suggesting that it benefits the rest of your oral cavity as well. It contains compounds that appear to control inflammation and fight bacterial infection. This drink is also rich in antioxidants, which have many health properties.
What does that mean for your mouth?
Here are five reasons why green tea may be good for your oral health.
1. Cavity prevention
Because green tea controls bacteria and lowers the acidity of saliva and dental plaque, it may be a useful tool in preventing cavities. A recent Egypt-based study tested people before and after they gave their mouths a five-minute rinse with green tea. The test subjects had fewer bacteria and acid in their mouths, as well as reduced gum bleeding. Other research has found that drinking it shows promise when it comes to preventing tooth decay.
The effects of this extract on caries inhibition of hamsters and on acid resistance of human tooth enamel have been suggested by both in vivo and in-vitro studies. The dialyzed tea solution in which the fluoride was removed almost completely also showed remarkable effects. Similar to the original tea extract. The results obtained from this study suggested that fluoride in green tea may play a role in increasing the cariostatic action along with other components in tea. However, the action of fluoride does not seem to be so important because its concentration is very low. The effect of green tea on caries inhibition as well as on the increment of acid resistance appears to be more correlative with the nondialyzable substances in tea.
2. Gum health
Green tea’s anti-inflammatory powers seem to help control periodontal (gum) disease. A Japanese survey of almost 1,000 men found that those who drank it regularly had healthier gums than those who didn’t. A German study found similar positive results in people who were asked to chew candies containing its extracts.
3. Less tooth loss
It makes sense that a substance that helps prevent cavities and gum disease will help you keep your teeth. But in case you need proof, here it is: Japanese research published in 2010 reported that men and women who drink one or more cups of green tea a day were more likely to hold on to their natural teeth.
4. Cancer control
The antioxidants and other properties of green tea appear to protect against cellular damage and cancerous tumor growth. In one study at the University of Texas, the green tea extract was given to patients with precancerous lesions in their mouths, and it slowed the progression to oral cancer. Animal studies have also found that tea compounds can inhibit cancer growth.
Green tea is particularly rich in health-promoting flavonoids (which account for 30% of the dry weight of a leaf), including catechins and their derivatives. The most abundant catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which is thought to play a pivotal role in green tea’s anticancer and antioxidant effects. Catechins should be considered right alongside the better-known antioxidants like vitamins E and C as potent free radical scavengers and health-supportive for this reason.
5. Better breath
Green tea has been associated with better-smelling breath. Why? Likely because it kills the microbes that make our mouths stinky. The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Dentistry measured the level of smelly compounds in people’s mouths after they were given green tea powder or another substance that supposedly helps with bad breath. Green tea outperformed mints, chewing gum, and even parsley-seed oil in this study.
Daily intake of this beverage was significantly associated with bleeding on probing (BOP), probing depth (PD) and clinical attachment loss (CAL), such that the more frequently subjects drank green tea, the better was their periodontal condition. As in a study in which the author involved 940 men and examined their PD, CAL, and BOP, the relationship between the intake of green tea and periodontal parameters was examined. The intake of green tea was defined as the number of cups per day. Results showed that the intake of green tea was inversely correlated with the mean PD, mean CAL, and BOP.
Smoking habit and frequency of tooth brushing, which are important lifestyle factors for periodontal disease, were significantly associated with periodontal parameters and were also found to be associated with intake of green tea.
So, did I convince you to become a green tea fan yet?!