Gum disease is a threat to your teeth and to your overall health, including impact on your heart and kidneys. Gum disease treatment is important, as are your regular checkups, but the single most important factor in preventing gum disease is your daily oral hygiene routine. To help control gum disease, commercially available toothpastes have added triclosan, an antibiotic that has been shown to reduce symptoms of gingivitis. But triclosan has potential risks, so researchers are looking for a better alternative.
And they may have found it: a toothpaste containing green tea extract was recently found to be better than triclosan in reducing symptoms of gum disease.
Green Tea’s Impact on Gum Disease
For this study, 30 patients were randomly assigned to either a test or control group. The test group was given a green tea toothpaste and instructions on brushing, while the other group was given a commercially-available toothpaste with fluoride and triclosan. Researchers measured indicators of gum disease severity, including:
- Gingival Index
- Plaque Index
- Number of places where the gums bleed on probing
- Probing depth
- Gum height
- Antioxidant capacity
- Activity of glutathione-S-transferase
Glutathione-S-transferase is an enzyme that helps the body remove toxins that can contribute to cancer and other illness.
Measurements taken before the beginning of the study and after four weeks showed that the test group showed more improvement in gingival index, bleeding on probing, gum height, antioxidants, and glutathione-S-transferase activity than the control group.
Caveats to the Study
Before you ditch your triclosan toothpaste and go out to buy green tea toothpaste, it’s important to understand a few limitations to this study. First, the toothpaste used in this study isn’t one you can buy: it was prepared specially for research purposes. Second, we need to remember that the green tea group also received brushing instructions, which the toothpaste group didn’t. People who receive regular instruction on toothbrushing techniques do better at brushing.
Finally, we don’t know the impact of green tea toothpaste on staining. We know that green tea stains teeth, and it’s possible that toothpaste with green tea can impact this too.
If you are looking for help with your oral hygiene or are overdue for a checkup, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a Philadelphia dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.