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People all over the world drink hot and cold tea made with different plants. These drinks are often not consumed just as a beverage, but for the cure or prevention of some diseases. Among the plant extracts taken as a beverage are tea leaves, a plant called Camellia sinensis.
Tea has been consumed for centuries and is the most consumed beverage in the world after packaged water. In fact, it has been reported to be consumed by a third of the world’s population. Tea that is consumed in its various forms can be broadly classified based on the processing of the harvested leaf as black (fermented), green (non-fermented) and oolong (semifermented).
Human and laboratory studies have shown that this plant that has been consumed for centuries by humans possesses significant benefits. Evidence suggests that tea contains constituents that may promote heart health, treat diarrhea and other digestive problems, regulate blood pressure, protect against the risk of cancer and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Now, expert’s assessment of tea leaves suggests that drinking tea is also good for healthy teeth and gums. Findings by the laboratory of the Université des Montagnes Teaching Hospital in Cameron indicate that drinking tea, as an adjunct with mechanical plaque control, gives satisfactory results in the prevention of gum disease.
In the time that tea spends in the mouth before being swallowed, it has been assumed that its chemical constituent (especially polyphenols responsible for its anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties) can destroy oral microorganisms.
Clinical studies have shown that tea could have an inhibitory effect on oral microorganisms by reducing the deposition of plaque in the tooth and gingival surface.
Antioxidants help combat free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the body that result from both natural processes and environmental pressures.
The body can remove free radicals, but if too many build up, they can damage or change cells in the body. These changes can contribute to the development of many diseases and conditions, such as atherosclerosis and some cancers.
Antioxidants can help remove free radicals, and tea is one source of antioxidants. In fact, one study notes that phenolic compounds, which have antioxidant effects, constitute up to 30 per cent of the dry weight of green and black tea.
The antioxidants in black tea are different from those in green tea, due to the oxidation process.
The findings of the researchers in the 2022 edition of Journal of Dentistry and Oral Biology said it will be interesting that particular attention is paid to the use of tea and its beverage in the near future to protect the oral flora.
According to them, “The use of the constituents of Camellia sinensis as active ingredients in mouthwash formulations and improved traditional medicines of Category 2 Phytodrugs for preventive and curative treatment of periodontal diseases should be encouraged.”
Apart from dental caries, periodontal diseases constitute the second major reason for dental consultation. Bacteria found in dental plaque are the main cause of dental caries and periodontal diseases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 15% to 20% of middle-aged adults (aged between 35 to 44 years), suffer from severe periodontitis, which can cause tooth loss. In Low To Medium Income Countries (LMIC), where there are limited financial resources and poor access to oral health care, plants and plant extracts have been used to treat many dental diseases.
For the study, the black tea and green tea leaves were subjected to two extractions techniques: One by maceration in 95% ethanol and the other by infusion in water. These were evaluated on bacteria responsible for periodontal diseases.
Included in the study were 10 patients diagnosed with periodontitis who were consulted at the Dental Clinic of the “Cliniques Universitaires des Montagnes” (CUM) and who gave their informed consent to participate in the present study.
Patients on antimicrobial treatment, use of mouthwash, herbal medicine administration from traditional workers were excluded in the study.
The finding was that extracts from green tea leaves had bactericidal activity on all the strains of the isolated bacteria unlike black tea extracts that had bacteriostatic activity on all strains.
“The results obtained, although preliminary, allow us to conclude that Camellia sinensis has antibacterial activity on the bacterial strains tested responsible for periodontal disease,” they said.
Also, antibacterial tests performed with extracts show that the susceptibility of microbial strains varies from one strain to another depending on the type of extract and the type of tea. Likewise, the results differ according to the concentrations of extracts used. The different extracts acted on the strains isolated to different degrees.
The researchers said there is the need for future studies on tea leaves to determine Proof of Safety (POS), including its toxicity evaluation and other pharmacological and biochemical studies on its antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities.
Moreover, a comparative clinical study conducted in India on the effectiveness of chlorhexidine and mouthwash made from ethanolic extract of green tea leaves in the management of plaque gingivitis, has recommended the use of green tea mouthwash as well as Chlorhexidine as a safe anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial for controlling gum inflammation and maintaining good gingival and oral health.
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