The Protective Effects That Coffee Has On Dental And Oral Health
By Lucy Wyndham
The fact that coffee can help prevent cavities is one reason why associations like the Academy of Biomimetic Dentistry recommend its consumption in moderation. A study published by the American Chemical Society revealed that coffee made from roasted beans has antibacterial properties that can keep cavity-causing microorganisms (such as streptococcus mutans) at bay. The study honed in the ability of beans like arabica and robusta to act as powerful anti-adhesives, stopping plaque from settling on teeth and gums and preventing to onset of decay. Interestingly, this is just one of the many benefits of coffee, with other studies showing that it can benefit oral health on a wide scope.
Coffee and Oral Cancer
Another study by the American Cancer Society found that there is a big inverse association between drinking coffee and death from oral/pharyngeal cancer. The researchers found that people who consumed over four cups of coffee daily had around 50% of the risk of death from these cancer, compared to those who rarely or never consumed this beverage. The reason for this effect is coffee’s high polyphenol and antioxidant content. Polyphenols, present in fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, coffee, and tea, help cells fight off free radical damage. They are also key inhibiting the growth of blood cells that feed tumors. Interestingly, in some countries (like Norway and Finland) coffee provides around 64% of people’s total antioxidant intake.
Choosing the Right Coffee for Maximum Oral Health Benefits
It is important to choose low acidic varieties of coffee, since high acid caffeine can cause reflux and harm the tooth’s enamel, which in turn can make teeth less resistant to bacteria. Some coffees are specifically treated to remove organic acids. Dark roast coffee blends also contain less acid than lighter roasts. Research has also shown that dark blends are also higher in antioxidants, which is good news for your oral and general health. Moderate coffee consumption has been linked to a lower risk of other conditions, including Alzheimer’s, liver disease, pancreatitis, and Type 2 diabetes. To truly enjoy its health benefits, purchase coffee in whole bean form, and consume it black, without sugar or dairy. To sweeten, use stevia if desired.
Moderation is Key
The above studies do not mean that coffee can be consumed in excess.Other studies have shown that drinking copious amounts of coffee can be dangerous in some cases. For instance, it increases the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women. Moreover, it should not be your sole source of antioxidants. Rather, these should be obtained in greater part from fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil, which have many other nutrients your body needs.
Because coffee can stain teeth, make sure to rinse your teeth with water after drinking it. To reduce its effects on your enamel, go for low acid varieties. If dark beans are your thing, buy them whole and grind them yourself, making sure your blend is fragrant and appetizing; this will indicate it is in a fresh, optimal state.