A growing body of research is supporting the anti-inflammatory, anticariogenic, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects of green tea on oral health.
A study published online in Cancer Prevention Research in November found that green tea extract is a promising cancer prevention agent in patients with oral leukoplakia. The study, the first to examine green tea as a chemopreventative agent in this high-risk patient population, found that more than half of the oral leukoplakia patients who took the extract had a clinical response.
And findings from a study published in the Journal of Periodontology (March 2009, Vol. 80:3, pp. 372-377) suggested that routine intake of green tea can help promote healthy teeth and gums. Researchers from Japan analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men and found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects who consumed less green tea.
Now a group of researchers from Ain Shams University in Egypt has found green tea to be effective in preventing caries (International Journal of Dental Hygiene, published online December 10).
Working in the El-Azhar University dental clinic, Dr. Hala Awadalla and colleagues measured the Streptococcus mutans count in saliva and plaque, the salivary and plaque pH values, and the gingival bleeding index (GBI) in 25 subjects before and after rinsing with green tea.
They reported a statistically significant difference in S. mutans count in the saliva and plaque, the salivary and plaque pH values, and the GBI before and after rinsing with 2% green tea for five minutes.
Not only does the study support the effectiveness of green tea as an antibacterial and anticariogenic material, they concluded, it is also a cost-effective caries prevention measure due to its ability to decrease the acidity of saliva and plaque.