Drink coffee for clean teeth, study suggests

Coffee beans

Whilst many people love coffee, the drink has a reputation that it unfortunately isn’t the best beverage to consume for those who want to keep their teeth porcelain white and their breath minty.

However, a new study has decided to be the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons.

The research, which was conducted by academics based at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, found that coffee with a large caffeine amount destroys a type of bacteria which causes the formation of dental plaque.

Coffee attacks plaque

“Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it is the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease. We are always looking for natural compounds – food and drink, even – that can have a positive impact on dental health,” said Professor Antonio, the project’s leader researcher.

However, as the study goes on to state, coffee must be consumed black and unsweetened as the presence of milk, cream or sugar can have a counterproductive effect.

Tests found that a chemical within the coffee beans called polyphenol attacks plaque-forming bacteria, causing them to burst.

“Whilst this is an exciting result,” says Antonio, with a note of caution “We have to be careful to add that there are problems associated with excessive coffee consumption, including staining and the effects of acidity on tooth enamel.”

During the investigation, the researchers grew biofilms on milk teeth which were donated by local children. When the teeth were exposed to an extract sourced from Robusta (coffea canephora), the bacteria were either burst or lysed.

Why Robusta?

Well the more variety of coffee most commonly found in Vietnam, areas of Africa and Brazil contains nearly twice the caffeine levels to that of Arabica (2.7% to 1.5%), making it the bean of choice for those wanting to protect their teeth by having a cup of joe.

Previous studies that have investigated the properties of Robusta in regards to health benefits have uncovered that the polyphenols can also help prevent certain oral diseases.

 

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