Top Benefits of Drinking Green Tea for Your Oral Microbiome
It’s common knowledge that certain beverages can cause damage to your teeth, but what about the beverages that keep your mouth healthy? Green tea, a well-known superfood, contains special antioxidants and compounds that can actually protect your mouth and keep you smiling. Read on to learn more about how drinking green tea can support healthy teeth and gums.
Benefits of Green Tea for a Healthy Oral Microbiome
Brewed green tea has been a part of traditional medicine systems for thousands of years, and for good reason. Current research shows that drinking green tea has many health benefits, including benefits for your teeth.
Helps Prevent Gum Inflammation
Gum infections do not only pose a risk to our mouths, but they can impact the health of our entire body. A buildup of bad bacteria in the mouth can weaken our natural defenses and trigger immune responses throughout our system. 1
Brewed green tea contains several antioxidants, including a group of polyphenols called catechins. The main catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.2
EGCG reduces the oral growth of porphyromonas gingivalis, prevotella intermedia, and prevotella nigrescens, bacteria that can harm our gums and even the bones surrounding our teeth. The catechins in green tea also protect gums by reducing free radical damage and irritation caused by these bacteria. 3
Helps Protect Dental Enamel
Dental caries and erosions in dental enamel are partially caused by dental plaque. Dental plaque is a sticky film of harmful bacteria, leftover food particles, and saliva that produces acids and contributes to both tooth decay and gum disease.
Green tea beverages help restore the microbiome by inhibiting the activities of unwanted bacteria that commonly cause dental plaque. 4
Natural fluorides in green tea leaves help teeth become more resistant to acids produced by bacteria. Other antioxidant components such as green tea tannins stimulate antimicrobial action to reduce the buildup of plaque. 5
Helps Freshen Breath
How fresh your breath smells can be dependent on the health of your oral microbiome. Gram-negative anaerobic bacteria in the mouth can produce sulfur-containing compounds, the main component of bad breath.
Brewed green tea contains polyphenols and tannins that reduce the number of bacteria that cause bad breath. Meanwhile, EGCG combats bad breath by preventing bacteria from producing bad-smelling sulfur compounds. [3,6]
How to Use Green Tea to Your Advantage
Brewed green tea should be used in combination with other regular oral care habits like brushing teeth regularly, flossing, brushing your tongue, and regular dentist visits.
Drinking between 3 to 5 cups of green tea daily can be enough to experience the benefits of green tea not only for your mouth but your entire body. Try to avoid adding extra sugar or honey to your tea so that you don’t feed the bad bacteria in your mouth. You can get more antioxidants from your cup of tea when you brew tea made with loose or whole green tea leaves.
Some companies also make alcohol-free mouthwashes that contain green tea extract, which can be beneficial for your oral microbiome.
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Musial, C., Kuban-Jankowska, A., & Gorska-Ponikowska, M. (2020). International journal of molecular sciences, 21(5), 1744. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051744
Vyas, T.; Nagi, R.; Bhatia, A.; Bains, S.K. (2021). Journal of family medicine and primary care, 10(11), 3998-4001. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_943_21
Han, S., Abiko, Y., Washio, J., Luo, Y., Zhang, L., & Takahashi, N. (2021). Caries research, 55(3), 205–214. https://doi.org/10.1159/000515814
Narotzki, B., Reznick, A. Z., Aizenbud, D., & Levy, Y. (2012). Archives of oral biology, 57(5), 429–435. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.11.017
Rassameemasmaung, S., Phusudsawang, P., & Sangalungkarn, V. (2012). ISRN preventive medicine, 2013, 975148. https://doi.org/10.5402/2013/975148