Green tea has become an increasingly popular beverage being touted in numerous studies as having therapeutic benefits for heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, genital warts and obesity. Green tea’s antioxidant properties are believed to produce anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology, the researchers discovered that green tea also promotes healthy teeth and gums. An antioxidant known as catechin was identified as responsible for resolving symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease. It works by preventing the growth and sticking of disease-causing bacteria or virus to teeth and gums. Antioxidants are substances that protect our cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when our body breaks down food or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
In the study, the researchers examined 940 men aged 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.
Periodontal or gum disease, a chronic (persistent) infection of the gums and bone supporting the teeth, has been known to work its way to become a precursor of cardiovascular disease, lung disorders and diabetes.