It is estimated that Americans make 500 million visits to dentists every year at a cost of over $100 billion to help prevent the two major forms of Periodontal Disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. While gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums, it can lead to periodontitis, which is more destructive to the gums. Signs of periodontitis include red, swollen or tender gums, gums that have pulled away from the teeth, bad breath that doesn't go away, pus between your teeth and gums, loose teeth, a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite, and a change in the fit of partial dentures.
While regular dental visits and brushing and flossing help maintain gum health, a new study has found that green tea may also help with gum health. In the study, researchers analyzed green tea intake and gum health in 940 Japanese men aged 49 to 59 years. To assess gum health, researchers conducted an oral examination to measure probing depth, clinical attachment loss (AL), and gum bleeding on probing (BOP). They then had the patients complete a questionnaire on green tea intake.
The researchers found green tea intake to be “inversely correlated” with all three parameters of gum health. Specifically, every one cup of green tea consumed per day was associated with a 0.023-mm decrease in the mean probing depth (P <0.05), a 0.028-mm decrease in the mean clinical attachment loss (P <0.05), and a 0.63% decrease in bleeding on probing (P <0.05), after adjusting for other confounding variables.*
The researchers believe that it is the polyphenols in green tea that help preserve gum health, with the average cup of green tea containing 50-150 mg of polyphenols. For the researchers, “There was a modest inverse association between the intake of green tea and periodontal disease.”
*Confounding variables are variables that the researcher failed to control or eliminate that can adversely affect the relationship between the independent variable and dependent variable, resulting in a false correlation between the dependent and independent variables.
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