Drinking green tea is in style, but guess what, it may also be good for your teeth. A recent study found that those who regularly drank green tea had better oral health than those who didn’t. Examining three indicators of gum disease, researchers found that for every cup of green tea consumed per day, a decrease in all three indicators occurred.
In the study, the researchers examined 940 men ages 49 through 59 on the three indicators of gum disease by measuring the pocket depth between the gums and tooth, loss of the bone attachment of the tooth and probing bleeding gums. They found that the men who had regular intake of green tea had healthier gums and teeth than those who drank less green tea. They noted that a cup a day increase in consumption resulted in the shrinking of the above indicators or symptoms.
Unlike black tea, green tea is not fermented, so its active ingredients remain unaltered. Green tea’s protection comes from a powerful antioxidant, a polyphenol called EGCG.
Because our mouths are an oxygen-rich environment closely connected to our blood vessels, they provide an ideal habitat for the growth and rapid proliferation of cancer cells. Scientists have confirmed that green tea not only halts the growth of new oral cancer cells but actually breaks down and kills existing oral cancer cells. A double-blind study of people with leukoplakia (a precancerous oral condition), showed that those in the green tea group compared to those in the placebo group had significant decreases in the pre-cancerous condition.
This is why we examine your mouth closely at each visit to determine any changes in texture or color that might indicate the presence of oral cancers. This early screening is just one more reason to make sure you don’t miss your regular checkup.
Ingredients in green tea may reduce the risk of getting dental cavities. One study compared two groups. The one that rinsed each night with an alcohol extract of oolong tea leaves had significantly less plaque formation than the group that did not.
Another benefit of green tea is that it stunts the growth of odor causing bacteria, thus helping you maintain a fresh breath.
To fully obtain the benefits, we should have at least four to six cups a day. Decaffeinated tea is recommended to reduce the side effects associated with caffeine, including anxiety and insomnia. This seems like an awful lot of tea to ingest, so if you don’t want to drink that much, simply use it as a mouthwash.
If we can be of assistance or answer any of your questions or concerns feel free to contact us.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
 Journal of Periodontology, March 2009, Vol. 80, No. 3, Pages 372-377 , DOI 10.1902/jop.2009.080510
 These 3 methods of examining gum tissue are the most common methods utilized by your dentist when you have your teeth cleaned.
 Graham HN. Green tea consumption, and polyphenol chemistry. Prev Med 1992;21:334-50.
 Li N, Sun Z, Han C, Chen J. The chemopreventive effects of tea on human oral precancerous mucosa lesions. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1999;220:218-24.
 Otake S, Makimura M, Kuroki t, et al. Anticaries effects of polyphenolic compounds from Japanese green tea. Caries Res 1991;25:438-43.
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