According to research done among middle-aged Japanese, the risks of having periodontitis (gum disease) decreased as their consumption of green tea increased. The symptoms of gum disease, including receding and bleeding gums, decreased for each cup of green tea they drank on a daily basis.
Obviously this does not mean that having green tea is a replacement for seeing the dentist or practicing good oral hygiene. One of the researchers of this study, Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki, told Reuters Health that the relationship between the consumption of green tea and having a lower risk of gum disease was not strong enough to alter one’s oral hygiene. Practicing good overall oral care is most important.
The researchers had studied 940 men between ages 49-59 for periodontal disease symptoms in Fukuoka, Japan. The research also involved a questionnaire on topics like smoking, drinking, tooth-brushing habits and green tea consumption.
The studies showed that as one drank more green tea, the likeliness of getting gum disease decreased even with the influence of other lifestyle factors. However, the researchers lacked information on the men’s overall diet, which could have included other nutrients that can protect against gum disease.
Green tea has antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which would be the reason it would combat gum disease. Research shows that green tea polyphenols can hinder the strength of the bacteria causing gum disease and the damage it causes.
SOURCE: Journal of Periodontology, March 2009.