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Green tea may be good for periodontal health: study

Regular consumption of green tea may help promote healthy teeth and gums, according to a recent study conducted in Japan.

Japanese researchers analyzed the periodontal health of 940 male subjects aged 49 to 59 to determine what effect the regular intake of green tea had on the subjects' periodontal health as compared to subjects that consumed less of the popular beverage. Previous research has shown weight loss, heart health and cancer prevention to be among the potential benefits of drinking green tea.

For this study, researchers examined three indicators of periodontal disease: periodontal pocket depth, attachment loss of gum tissue and bleeding on probing of the gum tissues. They found that for each cup of green tea consumed each day there was a decrease in all three indicators, pointing to a lower incidence of periodontal disease in the subjects who regularly drank green tea.

The presence of the antioxidant catechin in green tea may be responsible for its beneficial effect on periodontal health, researchers said. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth; green tea and the catechin it contains may help promote periodontal health by interfering with the body's inflammatory response to the periodontal bacteria.

"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, in a new release. "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 results of the green tea study were published in the Journal of Periodontology.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

3/16/2009

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