If you enjoy a hot cup of green tea during the day, you could be helping improve your oral health without even knowing it. Green tea has been said to have many health benefits including aiding with weight loss, boosting brain function, and also helping people relax. Green Tea has been around for over 3,000 years and has an estimated consumption rate of 3 billion cups a day, making it the second most popular drink after water. Seeing how powerful this tea can be, it’s bound to have benefits for mouth health as millions of people around the world guzzle cups of it daily.
History of Green Tea
This tea was first documented in China where it was first steeped in 2737BC during the reign of Emperor Shennong, who was a well-known mythical sage and popular figure in Chinese mythology. The legend says that the emperor was traveling with his convoy when he had stopped to rest, and a twig from a green tea tree nearby fell into his cup of hot water. The water instantly turned dark, but the emperor didn’t notice and drank it anyway. He found it to be exquisitely refreshing and demanded that his convoy prepare it for him from that point forward.
Other historians claim that the use of green tea dates back to 3000 years ago where fresh tea leaves were chewed and eaten regularly as its uses span well across many Southeast Asian cultures and are used extensively in Asian cuisine. It wasn’t until later that people discovered its uses as a hot tea during the Tang dynasty where “tea ceremonies” became a formal part of Chinese culture.
To this day, you can find many different green tea flavored food items across Southeast Asia including green tea chocolates, ice cream, and various liqueurs. The fragrance and essence of green tea transcend food and is also often found in Asian beauty products such as makeup and skin care due to its many beneficial properties.
Fights Periodontal Disease
Japanese researchers have been studying the effects of green tea on mouth health, specifically what is considered the periodontal health of the gums. During their research, they observed 940 male subjects after 49 to 50 years old who drank green regularly in comparison to those who drank much less. The study examined three indicators most often associated with periodontal health: pocket depth, attachment loss of gum tissue, and bleeding upon probing tissues. The results showed that for each cup of green tea consumed, there was a decrease in all three factors, meaning that there could be a lower chance of periodontal disease among those who drink green tea regularly.
The antioxidants present in green tea may be responsible for these favorable results since periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bones that support teeth. The catechin in green tea may help by reducing inflammation in the mouth and interrupting an inflammatory response by the body.
Reduces Odor-Causing Bacteria
Because green tea is known for its antibacterial properties, research suggests that it’s great at fighting bacteria in the mouth, especially the kind that can cause bad breath. A study conducted by Pace University showed that green tea extract could help fight off bacteria that can cause tooth decay and even strep throat! The green tea was able to inhibit the growth of the bacteria, causing it to die off much quicker than if left alone or only treated with simple toothpaste. This means that staying on top of your oral health with checkups and brushing at least twice a day while also adding in a cup of green tea a day could really help you prevent stinky breath, tooth decay, and potential viruses.
Inhibits Oral Cancer
Back in the early 2000s, studies set out to see whether green tea was potent enough to help fight off various forms of oral cancers of the mouth and throat. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia discovered that this tea and its polyphenol compounds called epigallocatechin-3- gallate, or EGCG was found to have cancer-killing abilities. A more recent study by Penn State University also confirmed previous findings of the powers of this tea learning about the protein called sirtuin 3 or SIRT3, which can play an important role in killing off cancer cells while preserving healthy ones. Although more research needs to be done, clinical data and emerging evidence have shown that green tea could one day become a part of advanced cancer treatment.
Drinking green tea can help lower the acidity of the saliva in your mouth, which could lower the amount of plaque buildup that you’ll experience. This is critical in preventing tooth decay that forms cavities. Studies found that people who rinsed their mouths with green tea for five minutes had fewer bacteria and acid in their mouths, and also benefited from less bleeding of the gums. Less decay means that there is more tooth retention as you age. As people age, they tend to lose their teeth to decay, often having to be replaced with implants or dentures. By including green tea into your daily diet, you could significantly reduce that possibility in the future.
There are many ways to enjoy green tea, but remember that you want to avoid adding sugar or honey to your daily cup. The sugar added to tea can completely undo any of the oral health benefits that green tea has shown to have. The good news is, you can enjoy green tea both hot and cold, depending on what mood you’re in, and it can become a great replacement for your daily cup of joe thanks to its natural caffeine content. Making the switch to green tea isn’t as hard as it sounds, since it has a rather mild and refreshing flavor. If you’re not ready to make a switch, you can also try swishing green tea on a regular basis to at least get some of the neutralizing benefits that it offers. Adding green tea to your regular cleanings and dental checkups can really give you the edge on proper mouth health.