In previous posts, we’ve pointed out the many ways that drinking green tea is an excellent way to help ensure your body’s overall good health. One of the most intriguing, yet often overlooked, benefits of green tea is the way that it can help boost your dental health.
The benefit of green tea on teeth and gums has been researched worldwide. Today, dentists are suggesting to their patients that drinking green tea can help improve oral health conditions such as dental caries (cavities), periodontal disease, and even bad breath.
Here are just some of the ways that your drinking can also help you maintain good oral health:
Reduces Plaque and Cavities
Researchers from the Academy of General Dentistry recently released a study that indicated green tea is one of the best beverages you can drink, other than water, for good dental health.
Scientists have seen evidence that Camelia sinensis, the plant that green and black tea comes from, naturally contains the powerful catechin antioxidant Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. They say that in addition to antioxidant properties, green tea also contains certain phytochemicals that have antiviral properties that significantly inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans. These along with other similar bacterial strains are known to lead to several oral health issues like plaque buildup, cavities, and periodontal disease.
Dentists recommend that people drink a cup of unsweetened green tea in addition to regular brushing and flossing. Drinking a single cup of unsweetened green tea or swishing it in the mouth as a rinse after brushing can provide extra protection for the teeth.
Helps to Prevent Tooth Decay, Receding Gums, & Tooth Loss
According to a study that was recently published through the National Institute of Health (NIH), Japanese researchers found that those who consumed green tea on a regular basis experienced significantly fewer symptoms of periodontal disease than those who didn’t. Some of the symptoms of periodontitis include swelling and inflammation of the gums, bleeding gums, gradual receding gums and loosening of teeth, which can lead to eventual tooth loss.
Also, researchers conducting the study found that those participating in the study who consumed green tea also tended to lose much less tooth enamel on their teeth as compared to those who consumed other beverages like soft drinks, fruit juice, or even coffee.
Scientists believe that one reason for this may be because of the catechins like EGCG contained within the tea act to reduce inflammation and swelling around the teeth. Also, the naturally occurring tannins which are contained within green tea act as an astringent to further firm and tighten up the gums, which can help prevent tooth loss.
Strengthen Teeth and Prevent Bone Loss
Researchers in China have found that the antioxidants like EGCG contained within green tea bones and prevent degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Dental patients who drank green tea regularly were found to have stronger bones and teeth overall.
Researchers believe that, again, it’s due to those catechins which we talk about all the time in green tea! These compounds significantly inhibit the growth of bacteria, which contribute directly to tooth decay and other forms of dental disease.
Assists in the Healing Process After an Extraction
No one ever looks forward to having a tooth filled, extracted, or having a root canal. A simple way to reduce pain after such radical dental procedures is to turn to green tea.
After receiving a filling, extraction, or other painful forms of oral surgery, drinking green tea afterward can aid in reducing pain and help your mouth to heal. After a procedure, bleeding can be reduced by placing a green tea bag over the extraction site. The tannins, antioxidants and antiviral properties within green tea will act to soothe and protect the wound.
Some dentists recommend their patients drink a cup of green tea every day for about a week or two after a tooth is extracted. This can help treat or even prevent the painful condition known as dry socket from occurring. The antioxidants in green tea can also help you work out the adverse effects of anesthesia.
Fights Against Bad Breath
It even helps with bad breath! A study conducted at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and submitted to the Dental Research Journal found that drinking green tea, there was a significant reduction in the biofilms which attack the surface of the teeth and gums.
Scientists believe that this may be because of the antioxidant EGCG and other bacteria-resistant compounds found within green tea. These help prevent decay and reduce germs which cause halitosis.
Can Aid in the Prevention of Heart Disease
Over the last few years, researchers in both cardiac and dental medicine have discovered a link between heart disease and poor oral health. Scientists working on several studies over the last decade have noted an increased risk of heart disease in those patients who suffer from gum disease or periodontitis. Bacterial infection within the teeth and gums can not only cause tooth and bone loss but can travel into the bones and the bloodstream to adversely affect the heart and increase the risk of a heart attack.
Of course, drinking green tea should not be done in place of regular visits to your dentist and practicing good oral hygiene. However, the antioxidant and antibacterial properties which can help fight off and slow down the progress of dental disease can also help to reduce high blood pressure and potentially reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
There are so many ways that drinking green tea can help to ensure good dental health. Why not try some today and see for yourself?
“Dental Herbalism: Natural Therapies for the Mouth” by Leslie M. Alexander, Ph.D., RH (AHG) and Linda A. Straub-Bruce BS Ed, RDH, 2014, Healing Arts Press
“The Book of Green Tea” by Diana Rosen, 1994, Storey Books, Toronto, Canada
“The Way of Tea” by Master Lam Kam Chuyen, Lam Kai Sin and Lam Tin Yu, 2002, Barron’s Educational Series, NY
“The Everything Healthy Tea Book: Discover the Healthy Benefits of Tea” by Babette Donaldson, 2014, Adams Media, Avon, MA
“20,000 Secrets of Tea” by Victoria Zak, 1999, Random House, New York, N.Y
“Effect of Camellia Sinensis plant on decreasing the level of halitosis: A Systemic Review,” by Bahareh Tahani and Roya Sabzian, Isfahan, Iran. 2018, Dental Research Journal, via ResearchGate.net, web.