New Study Suggests Coffee May Benefit Oral Health
Learn how to enjoy the oral health benefits of coffee without risking yellow teeth.
For many years, common wisdom has held that coffee is bad for teeth because of its potential to stain and discolor tooth enamel. Now, new research suggests that coffee can actually help support good gum health.
In a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Periodontology, researchers from Boston University’s Henry M. Goldmann School of Dental Medicine explored the potential benefit of the antioxidants in coffee on gum health. They examined data collected as part of the US Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study from 1968 to 1998, which included records of dental visits and treatments as well as self-reported data on coffee intake and other lifestyle factors.
After controlling for risk factors like drinking, diabetes, smoking, and brushing habits, the researchers found a small but statistically significant reduction in the number of teeth with periodontal bone loss in the individuals who reported drinking coffee. Though this was the first long-term study on coffee and oral health, this particular study was still limited in that it only included adult males. The researchers hope to explore the topic in a more diverse group of patients in the future.
How to Drink Coffee Without Harming Teeth
Now, no one is going to suggest that everyone start drinking coffee based on this study alone. However, if you are already a coffee drinker, this study may lend some welcome justification to your habit. Here are some tips to help you continue to enjoy your coffee and its potential oral health benefits without putting your teeth at risk of staining or decay.
Brush Your Teeth: This first tip should be obvious! By brushing your teeth as soon as possible after drinking coffee, you can help polish away stains and also guard against decay. This is especially important if you enjoy the high-sugar specialty coffee beverages that are so popular these days.
Rinse After Drinking: If you can’t brush after drinking coffee, the next best thing to do is rinse your mouth with water. This will help clear away any sugary coffee residue from your mouth to prevent plaque bacteria from dining on it and creating lots of cavity-causing acids.
Get Professional Whitening: Professional teeth whitening treatments offer a very useful weapon in the fight against all kinds of staining and discoloration, including coffee stains. Consult your dentist to learn more about in-office teeth whitening.