Keep Your Gums Healthy with Green Tea

green tea

Periodontal disease affects infected gums leading to the damage of these gums. Bacteria, such as Porphyromona gingivalis, often produce this disease. Some of the studies conducted earlier have shown that the growth of P. gingivalis in cultures is inhibited by catechin, which is present in green tea. This study was conducted to identify the relationship between drinking green tea and maintaining the health of gums. The results have shown that the consumption of green tea helps to keep gums healthy.

Health of gums and the presence of periodontal disease can be assessed by performing tests such as probing test, clinical attachment loss and bleeding on probing. In periodontal disease, there is damage of gums upon using the probing test; the periodontal probe easily goes to a greater depth into the gums. Besides, bleeding is more when unhealthy gums are probed. The loss of attachment of gum to teeth is one more measurement of ill health of the gums. All these tests were performed in the present study and data regarding consumption of green tea was collected. The relationship between consumption of green tea and periodontal disease was measured by applying various statistical tests.


  • This study was conducted between January 2000 and March 2002. It included 940 Japanese men aged 49-59 years, who were enrolled in the Self-Defense Force in Fukuoka. All of them were examined as a part of preretirement health checkup.
  • Oral examination was performed in all the participants, to assess probing depth, clinical attachment loss and bleeding on probing.
  • Later, a questionnaire was given to all the participants. It included questions regarding smoking, frequency of brushing teeth and daily consumption of green tea.
  • Blood was collected for measuring glucose and lipid levels.


  • “The daily intake of green tea was significantly inversely associated with indices of periodontal disease, including probing depth, clinical attachment loss, and bleeding on probing.”
  • Every cup increment in green tea consumption decreased the probing depth to 0.023 mm and attachment loss to 0.028 mm. Also, every cup of green tea consumption decreased bleeding on probing, to the extent of 0.63%.
  • The association between better gum health with frequency of lipid and glucose level was identified.
  • Time gaps between instances of brushing the teeth and smoking were significantly associated with periodontal disease.

Shortcomings/Next steps
Apart from green tea consumption, many other factors, such as intake of vitamin C and more play a role in the genesis of periodontal disease. These complex factors must also be considered before arriving at any conclusion. Data regarding green tea consumption was self- reported and this could have been liable to personal bias. This study included only men, who were at the preretirement stage; hence, the findings of this study cannot be generalized. A follow-up examination of the participants is necessary to assess the effect of continued consumption of green tea.

This study has identified a positive relationship between consumption of green tea and the maintenance of healthy gums. Many studies in the past have shown that catechin present in green tea reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and various cancers. Catechin kills bacteria such as G. gingivalis, and thus, protects the gums. They can also inhibit toxins such as metalloproteases, produced by these bacteria and prevent the destruction of gums. It is known that oxidative stress plays a central role in the development of periodontal disease. Catechin, being a potent antioxidant, halts the disease process. This study has proved that frequent consumption of green tea is an effective way to maintain and improve the health of gums.

For More Information:
Relationship between Intake of Green Tea and Periodontal Disease
Journal of Periodontology, March 2009
By Mitoshi Kushiyama; Yoshihiro Shimazaki
From the Kyushu University Faculty of Dental Science, Fukuoka, Japan

*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.

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