People all over the world drink coffee daily. Recent statistics have shown that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day and that the average coffee drinker consumes about three 9 ounce cups per day. Coffee can be a great energy-boost for early mornings or late nights, but it can also have effects on the rest of your health, including your teeth. The most recent research, however, surprisingly shows that drinking coffee may actually have positive effects on teeth.
Over the years, researchers have gone back and forth on whether coffee is good or bad for your oral health. Clearly coffee does have some drawbacks, such as the dark color which results in yellow-stained teeth. New research, however, shows that drinking coffee may have one, major benefit: decreasing tooth decay.
Several studies have been done testing roasted coffee beans against the main bacteria that causes tooth decay, S. mutans. The coffee beans have shown to be antibacterial against the S. mutans, and that they may interfere with the adsorption of the bacteria to teeth. While the coffee beans do not actually prevent the growth of S. mutans, it does reduce the amount of the bacteria that actually sticks to the teeth.
The researchers tested four different types of coffee beans: roasted Arabica, unroasted (green) Arabica, roasted Robusta, and unroasted (green) Robusta. The results showed that while all the samples yielded positive results, the unroasted samples were significantly less active than the roasted in reducing adhesion of bacteria to teeth.
Though coffee can be beneficial to dental health, it still presents the problem of staining teeth. Fortunately, the discoloration of teeth can be easily prevented. Here are some ways to reduce the amount of staining.
- Brush your teeth or drink water after drinking a cup of coffee to wash away any residue that may stain.
- Drink coffee through a straw, so it avoids touching your teeth altogether, or drinking it very quickly so that the contact isn’t prolonged.
- Make your coffee using high-fat animal milk, because it counteracts polyphenols, the staining agent in coffee.
- Drink coffee made from Arabica beans, because they contain less polyphenols than Robusta, and thus are less likely to stain.
Even with these preventative measures, minor staining may still occur. Discoloration can often be corrected through whitening processes, such as professional bleaching or home whitening kits. If you wish to brighten your smile through whitening, talk to your dentist or check out these home remedies for teeth whitening.