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Green Tea and Healthy Gums

By Claire Cipolletti
 
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The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) reports studies showing men regularly drinking green tea have healthier gums than men drinking less green tea.

“It has been long speculated that green tea possesses a host of health benefits,” said study author Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. “And since many of us enjoy green tea on a regular basis, my colleagues and I were eager to investigate the impact of green tea consumption on periodontal health, especially considering the escalating emphasis on the connection between periodontal health and overall health.”

The green tea study measured periodontal pocket depth, attachment loss of gum tissue, and amount of bleeding when probed. The overall observation was that with every one cup of green tea consumed, there was a decrease in each of the three categories measured.

The researchers contributed the health benefits of green tea to its rich antioxidant properties and ability to reduce inflammation. Gum disease generally results from bacterial infection from the buildup of plaque on our teeth. It is assumed that the body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria is causing the more severe symptoms like swollen, bleeding gums, recession of gum tissue, and bone loss (American Academy of Periodontology, 2008).

Other systemic inflammatory diseases have been linked to periodontal disease (gum disease) like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic kidney disease; suggesting that inflammation itself might have a greater connection with the cause of gum disease. Proactive actions fighting inflammation, like regular consumption of green tea, may help reduce chances of these inflammatory-associated disorders.

Green teas can be found at local grocery stores, tea shops, or Asian markets. Personally, I prefer loose-leaf teas found in the local Asian markets, but other brands like Tazo China Green Tips or STASH green teas have had positive remarks. Green tea may be found caffeinated or decaffeinated. Health benefits vary per each brand of tea and whether the tea is caffeinated or not, but healthy antioxidant effects can be found in both styles.

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