A research team commissioned by the National Coffee Association discovered that 64% of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee every day. Maybe you fall into this category and have wondered whether or not you should try to kick the habit. But did you know that coffee can actually have positive effects on your oral health? We’ll show you why you don’t have to avoid your daily cup of joe in order to protect your teeth and gums. Better yet, your coffee intake may actually reduce your risk for oral/pharyngeal cancer according to the American Cancer Society. And all the coffee-lovers say, “Amen!”
What are the Benefits?
If you’ve been concerned about the effects coffee plays on your dental hygiene and oral health, we’ll show you three ways it’s actually beneficial.
1. Coffee Can Minimize your Risk for Oral Cancer
Coffee contains high amounts of polyphenol and antioxidants which are necessary for stopping the growth of cells that feed tumors. Polyphenols are found in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and extra virgin olive oil. In fact, The American Cancer Society discovered that those who drank more than four cups of coffee every day had a 50% reduced risk of death by oral cancer.
2. Coffee Can Reduce Cavity-Causing Bacteria
When we eat various foods, largely carbohydrates, the sugar breaks down and ferments, creating bacteria in our mouth that leads to cavities and tooth decay. The mineral structure on our teeth is also damaged as pH levels increase as a result of consuming foods and beverages that are acidic. The American Chemical Society found that some types of coffee actually contain antibacterial properties that keep cavity-causing bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, away.
3. Coffee Can Help Stop Plaque Build-up
In the same study by the American Chemical Society, researchers discovered that coffee roasted from arabica and robusta beans also contained “powerful anti-adhesive” properties. This means that coffee can form a shield in your mouth preventing plaque from building up on your teeth and along your gum line. Over time, plaque buildup leads to decay and other oral complications.
What’s the Catch?
While this is good news for those who enjoy coffee, there are a few stipulations. If your coffee order includes sugar, syrups, or dairy, you’ll need to make a few adjustments. Consuming coffee with large amounts of these flavorful additions can actually backfire. Instead, we recommend that you drink your coffee black. Research has also identified more antioxidants in darker roasts. A lighter roast may also contain more acid which can damage the enamel on your teeth. Coffee, no matter how it is consumed, can still stain your teeth. So it’s important to remember that moderation is key. You should limit your consumption of coffee whether you drink it black, naturally sweetened with stevia, or add cream. Always rinse your mouth with water after you drink coffee to avoid stains. And if possible, opt for a dark roast from a whole bean that you grind yourself just before brewing. This will ensure you get all the dental benefits coffee offers.
If you have questions or concerns about your oral health or are interested in learning more about cosmetic whitening, call our office at (979) 846-1813 or email us here. At Anderson & Atkins, DDS, we are dedicated to helping you feel confident in your smile.