Matcha: A Promising Natural Remedy Against Gum Disease

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Periodontal Health | 0 comments

Gum disease is something that many people find easy to ignore for a long time. Their gums may look red and puffy, and they may bleed a bit when you brush or floss. Seldom is there any pain, though, even as the disease progresses. Gingivitis becomes periodontitis.

That’s when tissue damage begins. Bone loss occurs. Teeth loosen in their sockets. Some may eventually be lost.

But periodontitis isn’t just a dental problem. It’s been linked to serious conditions such as stroke, heart disease, lung problems, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, mental health issues, Alzheimer’s, and even some cancers.

Gum disease can be treated, of course, but even better is preventing it altogether. And a surprising helper might be a vibrant green tea powder with a long history. A recent study in Microbiology Spectrum highlights the potential of matcha for fighting periodontitis.

Matcha vs. P. gingivalis

For the study, 45 adults with chronic periodontitis were divided into three groups. One used a matcha mouthwash; one, an anti-inflammatory mouthwash; and the third, a barley tea mouthwash. All received instructions on how to dissolve their respective powder to form a mouthwash and how to use it.

After a month, saliva samples from the matcha group showed a significant decrease in the harmful bacterium P. gingivalis, a major player in the gum disease process.

In a clinical study to assess the microbiological and therapeutic effects of matcha mouthwash in patients with periodontitis, the P. gingivalis number in saliva was significantly reduced by matcha mouthwash compared to the pre-intervention level.

More, the matcha rinse significantly reduced the ability of P. gingivalis to stick to surfaces. Matcha users also showed more improvement in teeth with moderate (4 to 5 mm) periodontal pockets.

How Does Matcha Work Its Magic?

Matcha is packed with natural antioxidants called catechins. Two specific compounds, EGCG and EGC, appear to be the main ones that act against P. gingivalis, changing its structure, causing the bacteria to clump together, and preventing them from sticking to oral surfaces.

Even though it comes from the same plant as green tea, matcha has a higher concentration of EGCG and EGC than regular green tea, which, itself, may be effective against gum disease. With its concentrated dose of beneficial compounds, matcha could be even more effective, not to mention it may have other health benefits, as well.

Beyond Matcha: Other Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

Of course, more research needs to be done to confirm these findings. Fortunately, matcha is hardly the only way to keep your gums healthy. Here are some essentials:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Swapping out sugars and other highly refined carbs for a nutrient-rich diet that includes meat and fish, lots of fresh produce, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and healthy fats can strengthen your immune system and promote oral health. In fact, multiple studies have shown that a healthy diet can reverse the progress of gum disease.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene. Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. If you have issues with floss, try cleaning between your teeth with an interdental brush instead. (There’s some evidence that this may be even a bit more effective than flossing.) It’s also a great idea to use a Waterpik or other oral irrigator with a periodontal tip to flush the pockets where harmful bacteria can thrive.
  • Toss the tobacco. Using tobacco is a major risk factor for gum disease – not to mention oral cancer and a host of other health problems. It promotes the growth of harmful oral bacteria and increases tartar buildup. It weakens your immune system and impairs blood flow, reducing the delivery of nutrients to the gums. And no, vaping is NOT a “healthier” option.
  • Stay active. Research has shown that regular physical activity is associated with a lower risk of gum disease.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is important for boosting immunity, clearing toxins and metabolic waste, and repairing damaged tissue. Studies also show that getting enough sleep lowers your risk of gum disease.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams. If your mouth is healthy, twice-a-year dental visits are the norm. The earlier we identify any emerging signs of gum disease, the easier it is to prevent it from progressing to periodontitis. Once you’ve crossed that bar, more frequent visits are recommended for deep cleanings until conditions have improved.
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