Researchers from Japan found that the antioxidant catechins may be responsible for green tea's protective effects. Previous research has indicated that the antioxidant has anti-inflammatory effects, and gum disease has been linked to an inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria in the mouth.
Mitoshi K et al. Relationship between intake of green tea and periodontal disease. Journal of Periodontology 2009, Vol. 80, No. 3, Pages 372-377
Background: green tea is a very popular beverage, and in vitro studies have shown that green tea polyphenols inhibit the growth and cellular adherence of periodontal pathogens and their production of virulence factors. We investigated the epidemiologic relationship between the intake of green tea and periodontal disease.
Methods: We analyzed 940 Japanese men aged 49 to 59 years as part of a comprehensive health examination. Probing depth (PD), clinical attachment loss (AL), and bleeding on probing (BOP) were used as the periodontal parameters. We examined the relationship between the intake of green tea and periodontal parameters. The intake of green tea was defined as the number of cups per day in a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: The intake of green tea was inversely correlated with the mean PD, mean clinical AL, and BOP. In multivariate linear regression models, every one cup/day increment in green tea intake was associated with a 0.023-mm decrease in the mean PD (P <0.05), a 0.028-mm decrease in the mean clinical AL (P <0.05), and a 0.63% decrease in BOP (P <0.05), after adjusting for other confounding variables.
Conclusion: There was a modest inverse association between the intake of green tea and periodontal disease.
The report concludes that men who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than those who drank less green tea. The authors suggest that catechins from green tea may interfere with the body's inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria, thereby promoting periodontal health, and warding off further disease.
Maintaining healthy gums is vital for a healthy body, and regularly drinking green tea is a simple way to boost the health of our teeth, as well as providing the many other health-related benefits of green tea (see article Disease-Fighting Properties of Green Tea).
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