Need another reason to smile about the cup of matcha in your hands? According to a 2011 scientific review on matcha and oral health – regularly drinking matcha green tea has a long list of oral health benefits – making it the energy-boosting drink of choice for many dental experts. (7)
From combating cavities to gum disease to banishing bad breath and oral cancers – drinking matcha may do wonders for your dental and overall mouth health. In the following article, we highlight the seven benefits of drinking matcha for your oral health — and just why you should be considering switching from coffee to matcha if you haven't already!
What makes matcha so good for oral health?
When it comes to matcha and its incredible ability to promote a healthy mouth, it comes down to the power of antioxidants.
With matcha, you are ingesting the whole tea leaf (in powdered form) vs. just the broth of a green tea plant— which means you tap into a greater level of nutritional benefits by ingesting more components of the entire green tea plant. The growing and cultivation process behind producing matcha is what yields its high antioxidant levels compared to other teas and coffee. For example, when comparing matcha with green tea, matcha has been studied to contain 3-10 times more antioxidants. (6)
And it's these exceptionally high antioxidant concentrations in quality-grade matcha (like Matcha Kari) that make matcha so effective at combating gingivitis, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.
The oral health benefits of drinking matcha, according to science and dental experts
1) Banishes bad breath
We've all been victims of bad morning breath, but did you know that coffee causes bad breath? The caffeine in coffee triggers xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, and stops your mouth's natural saliva production. And once you stop producing saliva, the bad-breath-causing bacteria thrive.
You don't need to worry about bad breath or dry mouth with matcha. In fact, matcha helps get rid of bad breath. The high antioxidants and unique variety of compounds found in matcha — unlike coffee — helps support the break down of sulfur compounds and reduce the production of methyl mercaptan, which breeds bad breath. (9) (15)
2) Fight off cavities and tooth decay
Matcha is chalked-full of EGCG, a specific type of antioxidant shown to reduce the buildup of bacteria that causes cavities. EGCG and the other antioxidants found in matcha have been shown to prevent up to 10 different bacterial strains that lead to tooth decay. (12)
3) Reverses and reduces the risk of gum disease
Did you know matcha is a great natural way to combat gum disease? Gingivitis or the inflammation of your gums can be downright painful, but matcha may be able to reverse the inflammatory condition and act as a natural pain-killer. Studies have shown that green tea is particularly good for combating gingivitis and severe cases of stage four periodontitis. (8)
4) Combats anxiety and depression
Do you grind your teeth at night due to stress? Have dreams about your teeth falling out? You should be drinking more matcha!
In many ways, depression and anxiety are intrinsically linked to your oral health. Studies have shown that anxiety and depression are associated with a higher risk of losing teeth, dry mouth, poor dental hygiene (not brushing), cavities, and teeth grinding. Drinking matcha has been linked to helping combat anxiety and depression — which, in turn, benefits your oral health.
It’s Matcha’s l-theanine concentration that gives the green tea variety its well-studied mood boosting properties. (11)
5) Reduces your risk of oral cancers
There is a long list of things that increase your risk of oral cancers, such as smoking and foods that are heavy in sugars and fats. But, once again, matcha's exceptionally high concentration of antioxidants is behind potentially reducing your risk of oral cancer — and it may even help break down the particles responsible for oxidative stress.
In a double-blind trial containing patients with pre-cancerous lesions in their mouths, subjects were given green tea as a topical treatment over six months. At the end of the study, many patients who received the tea treatment had much smaller lesion growth than the controlled group — clearly demonstrating matcha green tea's huge potential to reduce the risk of oral cancers. (14) (16)
6) Supports detoxification which promotes dental health
Daily, we expose our bodies to a range of different chemicals and toxins that will build up over time and increase the risk of various chronic diseases if left unchecked – and this includes dental diseases. Luckily, matcha may help.
For example, adults who have metal fillings could benefit from drinking matcha to combat the small amount of mercury exposure.
Do you suspect you struggle to detox naturally? Some people have a mutation of a gene known as MTHFR, which inhibits the body's ability to naturally detox and makes them, in turn, more prone to cavities and gum disease. If you have been tested for the MTHFR mutation, you may want to consider drinking more matcha. (2) (5)
7) Has antifungal properties to combat oral thrush
Have you ever noticed creamy-white lesions on your tongue or in your mouth? It may be oral thrush.
Oral thrush -- also known as oral candidiasis -- is a condition prone to affecting people with reduced immune systems. With oral thrush, candida fungus over-accumulates in the lining of your mouth. It's normal to have some candida in your mouth, though it can sometimes overgrow and cause unpleasant symptoms such as: (3)
- Cream white lesions (think cottage cheese)
- Loss of taste
- A cottony feeling in your mouth
- Redness and irritation
- Cracking and redness at the corners of the mouth
The compounds found in matcha have been well-studied to help reverse oral thrush symptoms and boost your natural immune system. So if you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed, try replacing your coffee with matcha. (3)
Do I need to worry about matcha staining my teeth?
The answer to this question really depends on how good you are with brushing your teeth.
You probably know that coffee can stain your teeth, but many people are surprised to learn that teas may also dull your pearly whites.
Like all teas and coffees, matcha does contain tannins, which over time may naturally stain your teeth and gums if you are not regularly brushing your teeth. So if you are drinking more than four cups of matcha a day, you may notice some discoloration over time if you have a poor oral health care routine. (1) (13)
But don't freak out just yet — that doesn't necessarily mean that your daily ritual of drinking matcha is staining your teeth.
Hear us out. There is matcha more to it than just this.
Why dentists love matcha tea
According to studies and dental experts, matcha does not directly stain your teeth.
Matcha discolors the film-like plaque that builds up on your teeth and often forms four to twelve hours after brushing. SO — as long as you brush your teeth once a day before plaque hardens, you will prevent staining.
With matcha, coffee, or any other tea varieties, you should always avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes — as this can do more damage than good. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to brush within 24 hours before your plaque hardens into tartar — which requires more than a conventional toothbrush or floss to remove. (1)
What is the best way to prepare matcha for whiter teeth?
If you are concerned about matcha staining your teeth, you should consider consuming your matcha with a dairy product without any added sugars. In other words — a matcha latte made with low-fat milk is the ideal drink of choice for a brighter smile. Just be wary of how much sugar you add to your matcha latte if you do like a sweetener. (10)
A reason to smile about matcha lattes
Were you ever told to drink more milk for stronger bones and whiter teeth when you were younger? This is because dairy products such as low-fat milk or yogurt contain lactic acid and calcium, which help strengthen and whiten teeth. Dairy also prompts your mouth to produce more saliva, which helps wash away any particles staining your teeth. (10)
A cup of water after your cup of matcha
Don't drink dairy? Don't worry!
An alternative to adding dairy to your matcha would be to have a cup of water alongside or right after a cup of plain matcha. Water helps flush the residual tannins and reduce plaque buildup.
Consider taking a couple of big swigs of water and allow the water to slosh around your mouth after your next cup of matcha. The simple act of just rinsing your mouth with some water can also be helpful against combating teeth staining from coffee too. (4)
Never made a matcha latte before? You wouldn't believe how easy it is! Check out our recipe for the perfect matcha latte.
The bottom line - matcha is better than coffee for your oral health. There's matcha to smile about when it comes to matcha! (See what we did there ;) )
We hope reading this article has made you as excited as we all get about drinking matcha. Are you considering converting from coffee to matcha to reap the wide range of matcha health benefits? You might be interested in the following articles:
- Switching from coffee to matcha
- What to add to matcha to make it taste better
- A refreshing watermelon 'pink drink' matcha recipe
- How to make a matcha latte
- How to get started with matcha green tea
- All of the health benefits of matcha
Do you have a specific question about matcha? Reach out to us on social media and let us know! We always have current and potential matcha-drinkers in mind (like you!) when it comes to our blog topics.
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