Israeli researchers investigating green tea’s polyphenol antioxidants report green tea could have the ability to protect against bacterial-induced dental cavities.
According to the Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin (Jan. 26), the polyphenols in green tea also possess antiviral properties, which could help protect against the influenza virus that often enters through the mouth or nasal cavities. Additionally, green tea polyphenols can be used as a natural remedy to treat bad breath. The sulfur compounds in green tea are thought to be responsible for its breath-freshening effect.
Smokers could also benefit from drinking green tea. Cigarette smoke, which is at its most concentrated when first breathed into the mouth, contains many harmful compounds such as nicotine that can lead to infections and more serious conditions like oral cancer. Green tea polyphenols could help to offset the negative health effects of cigarette smoke.
The article also reports that green tea has an ability to defend healthy cells from being transformed into malignant cells. The research team in the original study suggests that green tea could help induce death in oral cancer cells. They conclude by saying that green tea could be used as part of the prevention and treatment of oral health complaints.
SOURCE: Narotzki, B., et al., “Green tea: A promising natural product in oral health,” Arch. Oral. Biol., Jan. 5, 2012.