Green Tea: The Single Best Drink for Healthy Gums and Teeth

Green tea has a long and rich history in many cultures, including China and Japan where it has been enjoyed for thousands of years.  It is the second most popular tea in the United States behind black tea according to the Tea Association of the USA Inc. Of all the teas consumed in the US, including black, oolong and white teas, none is more celebrated than green tea for its natural antioxidants and nutrients.  In fact, many studies point to amazing green tea health benefits for tooth and gum health.  Here we take a closer look at a few green tea studies, and address the best way to brew green tea while retaining its healthy antioxidant properties for optimal oral health.

What are Green Tea Catechins?

Unlike black and oolong tea, green tea leaves are not crushed or fermented during processing which help retain its rich antioxidants.  Picked from the Camellia Sinensis plant, green tea leaves are rich in a polyphenol called catechins, a natural plant ingredient. It is these catechins that researchers believe to be responsible for the lower LDL cholesterol and heart disease of green tea drinkers.  While not conclusive, some studies have even shown that catechins may be the cancer-fighter that stops the spread of cancer cells.

Is Green Tea Good for Gum Health and Healthy Teeth?

Many studies have associated green tea with everything from lowering cancer rates to help with weight loss to improving blood pressure. Here are a few studies that indicate green tea can help with halitosis or bad breath, oral cancer, cavities and gum disease.

  • One study from Japan in 2008 set out to prove that green tea can be just as effective in controlling halitosis as other bad-breath killing products, like chewing gum, mints and even a parsley mix. However, green tea demonstrated a clear reduction of oral-causing odor over the other products tested.
  • Green tea contains catechins which makes it rich in antioxidants. A Japanese study found that the popular tea inhibited the growth of bacteria known as S. Mutans or Streptococcus mutans, in rats. This particular strain of S. mutans happens to be the primary cause of dental caries.
  • A study published in Cancer Prevention Research revealed that oral lesions, known to be precancerous in this particular study, exhibited a slower growth after subjects took a green tea extract therapy. Over the course of the 12-week study, participants with oral leukoplakia were given a course of three different green tea extract potencies: 1000 mg, 750 mg and 500 mg of green tea extract. With oral leukoplakia, patients develop thick white patches, known as lesions, on the tongue, roof of the mouth and on the inside of the cheeks. Each course was taken 3 times a day, every day. After the 12 weeks, each participant had tissue samples removed and tested. Researchers saw 60 percent less lesions from the group who took 1000 mg and the group who took 750 mg, and 35 percent less lesions from those subjects who took 500 mg of green tea extract over the course of the 12-week regimen.

Since that study, many types of green tea chewing gums are now marketed to consumers, but do these products live up to the hype? Do green tea chewing gum products actually reduce plaque and gum inflammation and reverse gingivitis and gum disease?

At DentalTribe.com, we consider it a pleasure and a privilege to keep you informed about recent dental developments and advancements.   A good way to stop tooth and gum issues from becoming huge problems is to continue with your regular check-ups every six months, and floss or Waterpik daily.

A double-blind clinical study of 45 subjects with gingivitis was conducted to determine the true efficacy of chewing gum containing green tea extract. Divided into two groups, 23 subjects were given the green tea gum, while 22 subjects were given a placebo.  Instructed to chew 2 gum tablets daily for three weeks, researchers found that gingival bleeding, gum inflammation and plaque indexes were significantly lower in the group chewing green tea gum.  Not only did the gum reduce the inflammation caused by gingivitis, it also decreased the plaque that causes both gum disease and cavities.

For Healthy Teeth and Gums, Learn How Green Tea is Prepared for Major Health Benefits

The way to prepare green tea for the best health benefits is to drink it in its purest form.  Catechins in green tea are reduced when it is bottled, iced or decaffeinated. Overprocessing can kill the natural antioxidants found in catechins.  For best results, tea should be fresh brewed whenever possible. If you want the greatest health benefits from green tea, try our tips for brewing the best cup of green tea at home:

  1. Use fresh spring water or filtered water for brewing tea. Distilled water has minerals that remove the tea’s natural flavor.
  2. For best flavor, bring the spring or filtered water to just a boil, then let it cool for three minutes before pouring it over the loose green tea leaves.  Let it steep for three minutes. Catechins are more concentrated in loose leaf green tea than green tea bags.  Green tea bags may absorb the catechins leaving only trace amounts to be absorbed by you.
  3. While some teas improve with age, the best green tea has a fresher smell and lighter color leaf. The leaf should smell fresh, not moldy or stale. The best green tea for teeth and gums should be a light green color.
  4. Green tea should be stored away from heat, excessive moisture and light to avoid tea leaves from degrading. Keep it away from the refrigerator or stove and never store it in a glass container.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green tea has a long and rich history in many cultures, including China and Japan where it has been enjoyed for thousands of years.  It is the second most popular tea in the United States behind black tea according to the Tea Association of the USA Inc. Of all the teas consumed in the US, including black, oolong and white teas, none is more celebrated than green tea for its natural antioxidants and nutrients.  In fact, many studies point to amazing green tea health benefits for tooth and gum health.  Here we take a closer look at a few green tea studies, and address the best way to brew green tea while retaining its healthy antioxidant properties for optimal oral health. What are Green Tea Catechins? Unlike black and oolong tea, green … [Read More...]