Earth Day is April 22 this year. The first Earth Day was in 1970, and it is sometimes credited as the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Earth Day is a great time to think about clean air, clean water, and the protection of our environment and its bounty.
We might also take Earth Day as a reason to think about Green Tea (it grows on plants from the earth, you see). Green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, as do black tea and oolong tea. Green tea, however, is the least processed of the three major kinds of tea, and it has become increasingly popular because of its abundant beneficial components.
If you do an Internet search, or just pick up a health-oriented magazine, you’ll find an avalanche of information touting the benefits of green tea. It is supposed to help with cancer, cholesterol, heart disease, infection, obesity, high blood sugar, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. It’s also credited with improving mental function, mood, and many other conditions.
Antimicrobial, antibacterial, antioxidant
Some of the credit is given to green tea’s antimicrobial properties. That is, some of its polyphenols have been shown to attack bacteria and other microorganisms. Credit is also given to green tea’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The University of Maryland Medical Center writes on its health website, “Green tea … reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals — damaging compounds in the body that change cells, damage DNA, and even cause cell death. Many scientists believe that free radicals contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants such as polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.”
Oral health benefits
Scientists have researched the effects of green tea components on oral health as well. The Department of Preventive Dentistry at Okayama University of Graduate School of Medicine in Japan experimented with green tea catechins on rats to see if there was any effect on periodontal inflammation. The study concluded, “Adding green tea catechins to a dentifrice may contribute to prevention of periodontal inflammation by decreasing gingival oxidative stress and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.” In other words, green tea extracts have antioxidant properties that are beneficial for oral tissues.
Good for bad breath
It turns out that green tea components have also been shown to counteract the volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that cause bad breath. Scientists at the Department of Oral Biological and Medical Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada conducted studies on the antimicrobial and deodorant effects of green tea polyphenols. They concluded “…that green tea was very effective in reducing oral malodor temporarily because of its disinfectant and deodorant activities, whereas other foods were not effective.”
At PerioSciences, we included green tea catechins in our AO ProRinse. Not only does this antioxidant-based breath rinse cool and soothe oral tissues, it contains those green tea ingredients that have been shown to counteract volatile sulfur compounds—further assuring clean, fresh breath.
Celebrate this Earth Day with a cup of green tea. And as you breathe in clean fresh air—thanks to Earth Day environmentalism—you can also breathe out clean, fresh breath: thanks to PerioSciences AO ProRinse with green tea catechins.