Home remedies are an enjoyable and thrifty way to treat a wide range of minor aches and maladies. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of many of these home treatments lack peer-reviewed scientific research to back up their claims. One notable exception to the rule is green tea. According to a recent Japanese study, this refreshing beverage can help you enjoy a healthy smile free from gum disease. Garland, TX dentist, Dr. Vi Mai discusses the findings of this groundbreaking study and offers some practical tips for incorporating green tea into your healthy lifestyle.
New Research Links Green Tea and Gum Disease
A recent study conducted by researchers at Japan’s Kyushu University and published in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that regular consumption of green tea can reduce the severity of gum disease. Participants in the study were all men between 49 and 59 years of age, all diagnosed with some severity of gum disease. At the beginning of the study, researchers tested three common indicators of gum disease: depth of periodontal pockets, loss of attachment between the gums and teeth, and bleeding when the gums are probed. At the end of the study, participants who consumed at least one cup of green tea every day showed marked improvement of all three indicators.
Green Tea in Context
Clearly, regularly drinking green tea can play a role in improving your periodontal health. However, green tea cannot cure gum disease. Rather, you should treat it as part of a dynamic lifestyle plan that must include consistent at-home dental hygiene to help you manage your condition. If your dentist diagnoses you with gum disease, she can recommend a number of treatment options designed to control and minimize bacterial infection and repair damaged gum, connective, or bone tissue. When possible, Dr. Mai prefers to treat gum disease using soft tissue laser technology. Using a concentrated beam of light energy, Dr. Mai can gently remove infected tissue and kill off bacteria in a way that promotes faster healing and minimal bleeding. Other treatment options might include deep cleaning (also known as root scaling and planing) or, in severe cases, referral to a periodontist (gum specialist).
Expert Tips for Using Green Tea to Improve Gum Health
When brewed properly, green tea has a flavor profile that ranges from mild and grassy to strong and slightly acidic depending on the tea blend you use and the way the tea leaves were prepared prior to packaging. Follow package directions for preparing the tea, making sure to use water that has not yet reached boiling to ensure a less bitter flavor. The Kyushu University study specified that participants drank between 1 and 3 cups of green tea a day, so try these strategies for getting your tea every day:
- Brew a pitcher full of green tea and store it in the fridge. You can enjoy your pre-made iced green tea for the next few days.
- Your grocery store tea section has several flavored green tea blends available, like green tea infused with raspberry, jasmine, or mint. Switch up flavors so you don’t get bored with the same cup of tea every day.
- Avoid sweeteners. If you’re drinking green tea to improve your gum health, never add sugar, agave nectar, honey, or other sweeteners. The sugars in these products will counteract any oral health benefits. If you must sweeten your tea, try using xylitol, a sweetener shown to improve tooth enamel strength.
About Dr. Mai
Mai-Truong Vi H DDS is an Academy of General Dentistry Fellow and holds an active membership in several professional organizations. From her Garland, TX dentist office, Dr. Mai and her staff provide exceptional general, restorative, and cosmetic dental care to individuals and families from across the Metroplex. To schedule your next appointment, call us at (972) 530-0552.