Good news in something “green” for your teeth.
So… the tea drinkers have known something all along that the rest of us are just starting to learn, namely, there are great health benefits from drinking green tea.
Green Tea and Gum Health
A recent study from the Journal of Periodontology found that green tea has many anti-oxidants that reduced the diseases that attack the teeth and the tooth supporting structures. The study analyzed gum health in almost 1000 men and found that regular drinkers of green tea had better gum health than those who did not drink.
The antioxidant catechin which is found in green tea may be responsible for this health-giving benefit. Prior studies have shown that antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body. The bacteria in gum or periodontal disease cause inflammation in the gum and bone surrounding the teeth. When the antioxidant interferes with this inflammation, the body preserves the bone that would other wise be lost and would result in loose and missing teeth. Periodontal disease, as it progresses is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects gum and bone which surrounds the tooth and enables the teeth to function in eating and speaking. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes.
This simple method of preventing the periodontal inflammatory disease can help to maintain a healthy body.
Green Tea and Cavities
An additional benefit of drinking green tea has been demonstrated in a study that researched the polyphenols found in green tea. Cavities are formed when there are oral bacteria that grow around the teeth. These bacteria produce acids that soften or demineralize tooth structures. As the area of the soft tooth structure enlarges, eventually it forms a void that we call a cavity. This opening can enlarge so much that eventually the tooth collapses or the nerve is exposed causing pain unless the tooth is treated. The polyphenols in green tea were shown to cause an antimicrobial effect against all the mouth germs that were tested, reducing the ability of the bacteria to grow in enough quantity to cause cavities.
Green Tea and Tooth Remineralization
A similar study has shown that when the tooth has demineralized into a cavity, immersing the tooth in green tea reversed the process and remineralized, hardening the softened tooth. A separate study has shown that the temperature of the tea can have both positive and negative effects on the mineralization process. Colder temperatures enhanced the remineralization, while very hot tea, did the reverse. Even though green tea can preserve enamel, hot green tea does not have the same effect.
This shows that green tea can not only prevent bacterial growth that softens tooth structure, but it can also reverse the damage that bacteria can cause.
Green Tea and Skin Cells
Besides locally in the oral cavity, the polyphenols in green tea have been shown to keep healthy cells alive while simultaneously fostering apostasis (early death) in leukemia cancer cells. In skin cells, a green tea polyphenol EGCG was found to have a startling effect. Most skin cells live about 28 days and slowly reached the surface of the epithelium to die. In a study, the application of the green tea EGCG on the cells caused them to phoenixlike reactivate and continue living. The benefits of green tea could be applied in the mouth to aphthous ulcers (canker sores), and on the skin to psoriasis, rosacea, wrinkles and wounds. Proliferation of skin cells after a wound could accelerate wound healing and prevent scarring.
And finally, yet another study has shown that green tea positively affects post-operative bleeding after dental surgery.
Green tea has enormous potential for promoting health in many parts of the body as shown by numerous studies.
Drink up and smile broadly, your green tea is your best friend.