Matcha mouthwash helps fight gum disease, study finds

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Researchers in Japan have discovered that matcha, a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves, may offer therapeutic benefits for individuals suffering from periodontitis, a severe gum disease.

The findings, published in Microbiology Spectrum, provide new insights into the antimicrobial properties of matcha, particularly against Porphyromonas gingivalis, a key bacterial agent in the development of periodontitis.

Periodontitis is an inflammatory condition characterized by gum degradation and, if untreated, can lead to tooth loss and other serious health complications such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

The disease is exacerbated by the growth of bacteria such as P. gingivalis, which thrive in the plaque biofilms on teeth and the periodontal pockets below the gum line.

The study conducted by the team from Nihon University School of Dentistry at Matsudo, along with colleagues from the National Institute of Infectious Disease in Tokyo, and other institutions, explored the effectiveness of matcha in combating P. gingivalis.

In a series of laboratory experiments, researchers tested a matcha solution on 16 different oral bacterial species, including three strains of P. gingivalis.

The results showed that within two hours of exposure, nearly all P. gingivalis cells were eliminated, and by the four-hour mark, they were completely eradicated, demonstrating the potent bactericidal activity of matcha.

To further validate their findings, the researchers initiated a clinical study involving 45 participants diagnosed with chronic periodontitis.

The participants were divided into three groups, each using a different type of mouthwash: one with barley tea, one with matcha extract, and one containing sodium azulene sulfonate hydrate, a compound used for reducing inflammation.

The participants were instructed to rinse their mouths twice daily with their assigned mouthwash.

Saliva samples collected before and after the study period showed that those using the matcha mouthwash experienced a significant reduction in P. gingivalis levels, unlike the participants in the other two groups.

These findings underscore the potential of matcha, not just as a beverage or culinary ingredient, but as a beneficial component in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease.

The antimicrobial properties of Camellia sinensis, the plant from which matcha is derived, have long been recognized in various studies highlighting its effectiveness against a range of pathogens.

This study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that green tea extracts, specifically matcha, could be a valuable addition to oral health care regimens, particularly for those at risk of or battling periodontitis.

The research team hopes that these results will lead to broader clinical applications and encourage further investigation into the health benefits of matcha, not only for oral health but for its potential implications in preventing other diseases linked to bacterial infections.

If you care about gum health, please read studies about an important causes of tooth decay and gum disease, and common tooth disease that may increase risks of dementia.

For more information about gum health, please see recent studies about mouthwash that may increase your tooth damage, and results showing this diet could help treat gum disease.

The research findings can be found in Microbiology Spectrum.

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