Coffee drinkers have been warned for years that their favorite morning motivational is dangerous for their oral health. While there’s no doubt that the heavily creamed, highly sugared drinks from your favorite barista aren’t helping your oral health at all, it’s not about the coffee. Make no mistake, coffee is a naturally acidic substance, and that can present a risk to your teeth; there are potential benefits to drinking coffee that may make it worthwhile. This is especially true if you take care to rinse your mouth after you finish your coffee.
Coffee has been with us for over 800 years, first appearing in its current form in 1200 CE
The Positive Effect Of Drinking Coffee
Roasting coffee does more than just make your brew taste great; it also unlocks the antibacterial properties of the coffee bean. Like most natural antibacterial agents, it’s only effective against a limited range of bacteria. What’s important about coffee is that Streptococcus mutans, the leading cause of cavities, is among those it’s effective against. This means when you’re drinking coffee, you’re reducing the number of S. mutans present. Even more amazing, coffee actually has the ability to limit the ability of this bacteria to adhere to your teeth. These effects combined can make coffee a great ally in your war against tooth decay. Research has revealed different degrees of protection offered by different types of coffee:
- Ground Coffee – The least effective form of coffee for preventing cavities by limiting adhesion is ground coffee.
- Instant Coffee – One surprising fact is that instant coffee is the most effective at preventing the adhesion of these bacteria to your teeth and has the best antibacterial properties.
- Caffeinated vs. Decaffeinated – The presence or absence of caffeine has no noticeable effect on the ability of coffee to prevent tooth decay.
Trigonelline is the active ingredient in coffee that creates these effects. In addition to producing the antibacterial effects and interfering with bacterial adhesion, it also happens to be responsible for the depth of flavor and aroma of your coffee. This means that the better your coffee tastes and smells, the more beneficial it is for your teeth. Just remember that sugar, cream, and flavoring are all harmful to your teeth.
Potassium, Four B Vitamins, and Manganese can all be found in coffee
The Bad In The Good Of Coffee
For all the great benefits to our energy level, and indeed our teeth, there are some risks involved with this tasty beverage. As mentioned previously, there’s a significantly high amount of acid in coffee, posing a risk to your dental enamel. Adding sugar and creamer to your coffee only aggravates this, making sugary flavored drinks even more of a risk to your teeth. The best way to get the most dental benefits out of your coffee is to rinse your mouth with water. Lacking that, cheese provides a tasty neutralizing effect that will work until you rinse or brush your teeth.