A new team of researchers from Japan suspect that antimicrobial molecules contained within green tea helps preserve teeth, as long as you don’t add sugar.* An article posted to discoverynews.com describes the findings, noting that catechins, found heavily in green tea, may be the protecting component.
Yasushi Koyama, the lead researcher on the project from the Tohuku University Graduate School of Medicine, and his colleagues examined more than 25,000 Japanese men and women between the ages of 40 and 64. They discovered that men who consumed at least one cup of tea a day were 19% less likely to have fewer than 20 teeth than those who did not drink green tea. Women had 13% lower odds.
The researchers concluded that catechins, which have been shown to kill mouth bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease, most likely give green tea its dental benefits.
Editor’s note: The authors remark that an association with northern latitudes has also been observed for multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and other autoimmune diseases.