Unsweetened Green Tea Excellent for Dental Health
By Diana Rosen
Cheers to good dental health!
Want to have cleaner, fresher breath? Healthier gums and teeth? Keep your teeth a lifetime? Recent studies from China, Japan and the U.S. all confirm that drinking unsweetened green tea will give you all that, and more.
The common thread in all these studies is the recognition that powerful antioxidants are the "good guys"that are especially good for oral health. Those powerful antioxidants include polyphenols also abundant in fruits and vegetables but tea has eight to ten times as many of these disease fighters than produce. And, with 50 to 150 types of polyphenols present in green tea from China and Japan, there's no wonder that they can destroy the "bad guys", those free radicals that cause disease.
Here's how antioxidants in green tea work: They reduce the accumulation of both dental plaque and the acidity of saliva in the mouth. Less plaque means cleaner teeth. Less acidity means stronger tooth enamel and healthier gums that can stand up to periodontal disease. Drinking green tea, like Dragonwell from China and Sencha from Japan, over a lifetime is not only pleasurable and delicious, it will help protect tooth loss from cellular damage that could destroy tooth enamel or compromise gum health.
On top of that, studies of participants who drink green tea show that it knocks out bad breath longer and more efficiently than from chewing parsley, eating mints or chewing sugar-free gum! The reason is those powerful good guys again. Polyphenols reduce the bacterial compounds that linger in the mouth after eating or when ill.
New to green tea?
There are a few simple things to know to get the best flavor and the most health benefits:
- Take care to brew green teas slightly differently than oolongs or black teas and, if possible, use spring water rather than tap water.
- Brew with slightly cooler temperatures (180 F.) If you do allow the water to boil, allow it to cool for several minutes until the temperature is reduced to the suggestions listed (use a candy thermometer or tea thermometer to check.) Then pour on to the leaves, brew, and savor.
- Steep at shorter times. Most of our green teas should be steeped no longer than two or three minutes. They can all be re-infused. Use our suggested temperatures and times as a starting point.
- Be aware that green teas are more delicate in taste than oolongs and black teas and offer quite a variety from buttery to nutty to sweetly vegetal. A whole new world of tea is waiting for you.
The reason for the lower temperatures and shorter brewing times is that green tea is not oxidized like oolongs and blacks; it is simply air dried, shaped and it's ready to drink while oolongs and blacks are heated to varied degrees of dry. Think of green teas like heating fresh greens. You want to steam it to softness but not boil all the goodness away. Take a look at the wide variety of green teas we offer including several samplers, the perfect way to introduce the novice to the taste, the delight, the infinite variety available in green teas from around the world.
Not sure which green tea to try first? Do try one of our samplers. Lots of choices, lots of flavors. Here are two of our top sellers:
Even dentists are shouting the benefits of drinking green tea (and black). A recent study published in General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, cited tea as one of the "best drinks for your oral health" and "results in considerably less enamel loss than drinking soft drinks and fruit juices". The study used both black and green teas and the results were identical. Other studies concluded that green tea has the additional benefit of being more powerful in reducing bad breath.
While drinking green tea is positive for dental health, common sense dental care is still important. Flossing at night, brushing one's teeth twice a day and regular dental checkups all can insure that concerns are caught early and treated promptly.
If you're prone to cavities, do not sweeten green tea because bacteria loves sugar and sugar produces the acids that can eat away at the enamel on your teeth, or irritate gums. Also, avoid citric acid which wears away enamel.
Not to worry if you love your tea silky sweet and flavorful. Adagio has legions of delightful green teas blended without sweeteners but with exotic fruits or flowers or other yummy flavors. Check out our classic jasmine greens or thoroughly contemporary recipes with mango, cherry or raspberry (not to worry, there are many others.)
One way to add to good dental health care is to rinse your mouth for three to five minutes each night with room-temperature brewed unflavored green tea. You'll have fresher breath, healthier gums and stronger teeth.
Here's a recipe to consider; it has the addition of peppermint for even more bad breath reduction.
MouthwashThis mouthwash is a two-day process, however, you can make enough to use for several weeks.
- 2 cups of distilled water (must be distilled, for purity)
- 2 tablespoons green tea leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried herbs such as peppermint, spearmint, fennel or rosemary
- 10 drops of tincture of benzoin or 1 teaspoon tincture of myrrh, both available at pharmacies
DirectionsBoil the distilled water. In a clean glass jar, mix together the green tea leaves and herbs then pour the boiling water on top. Allow to cool, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and allow to steep overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a second bottle. Add the benzoin (or myrrh tincture), shake well, and cover tightly. Keep in a cool cupboard. Use as a mouth wash or to treat sore gums.
Yield: About 1 ½ cups