With Brazil currently in the global spotlight due to the World Cup, scientists at the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro are kicking the traditional view of coffee as bad for your teeth into touch. It seems black coffee could in fact help you to avoid the dentist’s drill.
The team’s research has just been published in a journal by international scientific institute the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM). It suggests that an extract of Coffea canephora, a coffee bean grown in Brazil and Vietnam, could potentially break down harmful bacteria on teeth. This would in turn inhibit the growth of plaque – the substance which causes most gum disease, and also leads to cavities in teeth.
Andréa Antonio and his team carried out the research by working with children’s milk teeth, donated to the project. Professor Antonio said they were always searching for “natural compounds” which could help to keep teeth healthy. The society suggested the coffee extract could eventually be a key ingredient in a new mouthwash or toothpaste.
The scientists put bacteria biofilms onto the donated teeth, then applied coffee extract, which was shown to break down the films. The active ingredients working to combat plaque growth are believed to be polyphenol chemicals present in coffee.
However, the researchers warned that if you add milk or cream to your cup, you could completely cancel out the positive effects of these chemicals… so you are best to choose a strong black coffee.
This latest research finding comes in the wake of a series of other health claims for coffee, including suggestions that drinking regular cups could help to combat diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Before we all rush to the office espresso machine or other commercial coffee machine however, the researchers are sounding a note of caution. They say that, while this is an “exciting result”, excessive coffee drinking can cause health problems, including teeth staining. All the same, the findings are yet another reason to continue enjoying our daily coffee in moderation!