Green tea is a popular beverage that is scientifically proven to benefit overall health.
Most historians believe tea came from around China, Tibet, and India. Ancient Chinese legends say that Shen-Nung, a Chinese emperor, discovered tea in 2732 BC when tea leaves accidentally fell into a pot of boiling water.
In India, they attribute tea’s discovery to Siddhartha, a Buddhist monk in the 6th century. He felt inspired by the divine to pick and chew the leaves from a nearby tree, giving him feelings of well-being and alertness that helped him keep his vow.
Green tea is a beverage that has reached all corners of the world, and recent scientific research is beginning to show the health benefits of green tea like weight loss, heart health, cancer prevention, and oral health.
Learn about the benefits of green tea for teeth and how to make the best green tea for teeth and gums with Sunrise Dentistry.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is made using the leaves of Camellia sinensis, a shrub grown in plantations across Southeast Asia. They are picked by hand, steamed, rolled, and then thoroughly dried. Then, they are wrapped in foil-lined containers to prevent them from absorbing unpleasant smells and losing their aroma. Green tea is best served warm, not hot, to preserve its medicinal properties.
Green tea contains carotenoids, tocopherols, ascorbic acids, and minerals like chromium and magnesium. It also contains half the amount of caffeine in coffee; however, a cup of green tea may contain different amounts of caffeine depending on how long it has been steeped or if a person is drinking the first or second infusion. The first infusion of green tea usually contains the most amount of caffeine.
Polyphenols are an essential component of green tea, and flavonoids are the most important type of polyphenols. Catechins are the most relevant flavonoid, making up around 40% of the water-soluble solids in green tea. They exhibit strong antimicrobial properties against a wide range of bacteria, which may help prevent plaque formation. Of all the tea types, green tea has the most amount of catechins, primarily due to how they are harvested.
Benefits of Green Tea for Teeth
As long as you drink green tea without adding too many sweeteners, it can help maintain your oral health by:
Preventing Gum Disease
The antibacterial property of green tea for teeth has been shown to prevent the progression of gum disease by reducing inflammation and inhibiting bacteria from producing harmful substances that harm the gums. Each cup of green tea consumed every day helps reduce gum bleeding and pocket size, and promotes healing.
Using green tea mouthwash has recently become a popular way to improve teeth and gum health. Researchers have extracted the polyphenols in green tea to make it suitable to use as a mouthwash. According to studies, using green tea mouthwash helps reduce bacteria in the mouth and improve gum disease outcomes. It’s also more economical and safer than mouthwashes with chlorhexidine.
Preventing Bad Breath
Preventing bad breath is one of many green tea benefits. Bad breath is often caused by volatile sulfur compounds produced by bacteria in the mouth. Green tea’s antibacterial and deodorizing properties help reduce halitosis caused by these compounds, making it an excellent ingredient for dental hygiene products. One study showed that green tea for teeth outperforms toothpaste, mints, and chewing gum to reduce bad breath.
Protecting Against Oral Cancer
A notable green tea benefit is its protection against most cancers, including oral cancer. The polyphenols in green tea for teeth limit the blood flow to tumors and promote programmed cell death, protecting cells against damage and preventing tumors from becoming cancerous. It also protects cells against radiation damage and regulates the immune system to reduce the risk of cancer.
A study from the University of Texas M.D Anderson Cancer Center observed the effects of green tea extract on patients with oral leukoplakia. This condition increases the risk of oral cancer. Their research found that 58% of patients experienced a positive response. However, some of the patients experienced mild insomnia and nervousness. Further studies are still needed.
Cavities form when bacteria on your teeth produce acids that weaken and demineralize your tooth’s enamel, making it easier to damage. Research has shown that green tea for teeth prevents cavities from forming. The polyphenols found in green tea for teeth are effective in killing most cavity-causing bacteria, reducing their potential to cause cavities.
Tips on Preparing Green Tea
The best way to obtain the benefits of green tea for teeth is to drink three to four cups of freshly brewed tea leaves everyday. Here are some tips for making the best green tea for teeth and gums:
- Handle the tea leaves gently.
- Don’t use distilled water in preparing green tea; the best green tea for teeth and gums is made with filtered or spring water to preserve the minerals that make it flavorful and beneficial health-wise.
- Don’t use boiling water to make green tea. It’s best brewed with water around 160-170°F for three minutes.
- Let the water come close to boiling, cool for three minutes, then pour it over the tea leaves.
- Use a ceramic teapot or mug.
Is Green Tea Bad for Your Teeth?
Green tea is one of the most popular teas in America today. Normally, it won’t cause any side effects. However, drinking too much green tea may:
Avoid green tea if you’re trying to whiten teeth. Like other teas and dark beverages, too much green tea may stain your teeth. Keep green tea from staining your teeth by rinsing your mouth with water or drinking it through a straw.
Interact with Chemotherapy Medications
Combining green tea with chemotherapy medications like doxorubicin and tamoxifen may increase their effectiveness in laboratory tests. Meanwhile, studies have shown that both green and black tea extracts stimulate a gene in prostate cells that makes them less sensitive to chemotherapy drugs; avoid drinking green tea if you’re currently undergoing chemotherapy for prostate cancer.
Cause Stomach Problems
Brewing green tea too strong, using too hot water, or consuming it on an empty stomach may irritate the stomach. The tannins in green tea can raise stomach acidity and result in digestion problems like constipation, nausea, and acid reflux. These tannins also make green tea unsuitable for those with stomach ulcers or acid reflux disease.
Avoid drinking too much green tea if you have irritable bowel syndrome. Consuming green tea in large quantities may lead to diarrhea. Caffeine’s laxative effects may stimulate your colon to contract and release more, leading to more trips to the bathroom.
Reduce Iron Absorption
Green tea consumption isn’t usually a problem for most people; however, those at high risk for iron deficiency may want to avoid drinking it. Catechins in green tea may decrease your body’s ability to absorb iron from food; drinking too much green tea may cause iron deficiency.
It’s best to drink green tea between meals or an hour after eating.
Keep your teeth healthy the holistic way with Sunrise Dentistry.
Green tea is not the only natural way to keep your teeth and body healthy. Our dentists in Pagosa Springs provide dental services and promote overall wellness with a natural approach. Start your journey to better overall health with us today.