green tea leaves in bowlTeeth alone don’t make a smile. They need healthy gum and bone tissue to support them. The way to do that, of course, is through optimal hygiene, nutrition and overall healthy habits. Supplements, herbal medicaments and other natural substances can give a boost to those measures. Case in point? Green tea.

We’ve looked before at some of the oral health benefits of green tea. Now a more recent study – small but compelling – adds to the earlier evidence.

Subjects were split into two groups. One brushed with conventional fluoride and triclosan toothpaste; the other brushed with a green tea paste. After four weeks, the researchers looked for changes in several aspects of oral health, including pocket depth, bleeding upon probing, plaque and clinical attachment level (an estimate of a tooth’s stability). Both groups showed improvement in most areas, but by the end of the study, the green tea group had improved more.

The research was published in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene.

One of the virtues of green tea is that it is loaded with antioxidants that help keep your body’s cells healthy. It may boost levels of glutathione, a super antioxidant that is especially helpful in heavy metals detox. It is also has antimicrobial properties, having been shown effective in controlling growth of Candida – a yeast which may team up with S. mutans to make tooth decay even worse.

And, of course, green tea’s benefits are hardly limited to the mouth.

Despite the benefits, some find it hard to drink green tea on a regular basis. They may not be big fans of tea. They may find the mild flavor gets boring after a while. But whether you’re a novice tea drinker or an old pro, there are lots of ideas and recipes out there for jazzing up your brew. Here are a few for starters:

And keep in mind that there are other ways to enjoy green tea beyond brewing it. For instance, you could cook a green tea cake or Japanese green tea rice ororor

Image: Brandie Kajino

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