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Rinse with green tea? Matcha mouthwash surprisingly defends against gum disease

Rinse with green tea? Matcha mouthwash surprisingly defends against gum disease

By Chris Melore

You’ve probably heard of washing your mouth out with soap, but a new study has an idea researchers think will be even more helpful — washing your mouth out with green tea! A team with the American Society for Microbiology says that using matcha as a dental hygiene product can actually protect against bacteria growth and gum disease.

If you’re a fan of matcha, the vibrant green tea powder that’s a staple in many Japanese ceremonies and increasingly popular worldwide in lattes and desserts, you may already know about its antioxidant properties. Now, the new research from Japan suggests that matcha could play a key role in combating periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to other serious health issues like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Periodontitis is primarily caused by bacterial infections, notably by a bacteria called Porphyromonas gingivalis, which thrives in the gums of those affected. This bacteria creates biofilms — essentially slimy layers of bacterial colonies — on the teeth, hidden away in what are known as periodontal pockets, making them particularly tough to tackle.

However, the latest study in Microbiology Spectrum, an open-access journal from the American Society for Microbiology, highlights the effectiveness of matcha in fighting this gum-disease-causing bacteria. Researchers in Japan conducted experiments both in the lab and clinically with people suffering from periodontitis and discovered promising results. According to their findings, matcha not only inhibited the growth of P. gingivalis in lab settings but also significantly reduced its levels in the saliva of people who used a matcha-based mouthwash.

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The study involved 45 participants diagnosed with chronic periodontitis. They were divided into three groups, each using a different type of mouthwash: one with barley tea, one with matcha, and one with a sodium azulene sulfonate hydrate solution, commonly used to treat inflammation. After regular use, the group using matcha mouthwash showed a significant decrease in P. gingivalis levels, an effect not observed in the other two groups.

“Matcha may have clinical applicability for prevention and treatment of periodontitis,” according to the researchers in a media release, suggesting a new, natural avenue for managing this pervasive health issue.

Why matcha? This isn’t just about any green tea; matcha comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant but is grown and processed differently, resulting in a fine powder that contains the nutrients from the entire leaf. This method potentially concentrates its healthful properties, including its antimicrobial effects. Previous studies have shown that extracts from green tea can not only curb the growth of harmful bacteria like E. coli but also tackle P. gingivalis specifically by reducing its ability to adhere to oral cells.

Matcha’s appeal doesn’t stop at its health benefits. It’s also part of a long-standing tradition in Japan, used in tea ceremonies that focus on mindfulness and hospitality. Its unique flavor has also made it a favorite ingredient in various beverages and sweets, adding to its allure as a versatile and beneficial element of daily health routines.

This new research aligns with earlier observations linking green tea consumption to overall better health and offers a hopeful message for those struggling with periodontal disease. With regular use, matcha mouthwash could potentially be a simple yet effective tool in the battle against gum disease, adding another reason to enjoy this ancient beverage turned modern superfood.

For those dealing with periodontitis or simply looking for preventive measures to maintain oral health, incorporating matcha could be a wise addition to daily oral hygiene practices, promising not just a moment of zen but a smile that’s as healthy as it is bright.

Source: Study Finds

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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