If you want to have healthier teeth, you might want to take a look at the kind of coffee that you're drinking. It appears that brushing and flossing your teeth properly are not the only means to have smile-worthy teeth. A new study suggests that drinking black coffee may also help you maintain a healthy set of teeth.
For the study "Antibacterial effect of coffee: calcium concentration in a culture containing teeth/biofilm exposed to Coffea Canephora aqueous extract" which was published in Letters in Applied Microbiology on June 7, researchers from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil found that coffee which contains high amounts of caffeine can destroy bacteria that cause dental plaques.
"Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it's the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease," said study researcher Andrea Antonio, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to enjoy the dental health benefit of coffee if you like yours with sugar, milk or cream because these will give your teeth the opposite effect. You should drink your coffee black, strong and unsweetened if you want it to have a positive effect on your oral health.
For their study, Antonio and colleagues used bacteria in the saliva to cultivate biofilms in fragments of milk teeth that were donated by children. They then treated the teeth daily with an extract of the coffea canephora. Also known as Robusta coffee, this particular variety of coffee, which makes up about 30 percent of the coffee produced worldwide, is mostly grown in Vietnam, Brazil and Africa. Earlier studies showed that Robusta coffee contains high amounts of polyphenols, compounds that are known to prevent and treat oral diseases.
The researchers observed that the fragments that were treated with Robusta coffee extract appeared to have been lysed, a process wherein the polyphenols destroy the bacteria on the teeth by bursting them open. After a week, the researchers also observed that the teeth that were exposed to coffee extracts appeared to be in better condition compared with those that were treated only with filtered water.
Despite the study finding association between strong coffee and dental health, Antonio warned against drinking too much coffee. Although coffee can help destroy plaque-causing bacteria, she said that excessive coffee consumption may also cause staining and the coffee's acidity may negative impact the tooth enamel.
Other food products that are known to have a positive effect on dental health include cheese and yoghurt because of their calcium content, as well as green tea, grapes and coffee because of their antibacterial properties.