Forget what your dentist tells you, coffee may actually make your teeth cleaner
A coffee bean indigenous to Brazil and Vietnam found to have broken down bacteria
After what feels like a millennium of haranguing from dentists, parents and teachers to take care of our gnashers, it now turns out that coffee may actually be good for our teeth.
Researchers, using the milk teeth of children, found that an extract from a particular type of coffee bean can break down plaque.
The scientists, from Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University, examined the coffea canephora, a variety of coffee found in Vietnam and Brazil.
The team put biofilms on the tooth fragments using saliva samples, but when they were exposed to extracts of the beans, the bacteria were found to have burst apart.
Biofilms, such as “cavity-causing dental plaque,” seemed to have been destroyed by the coffee, or, at least, the researches say, more likely the polyphenol chemicals within the beans.
Lead researcher, Andréa Antonio, said “Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it’s the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease.
“We are always looking for natural compounds – food and drink, even – that can have a positive impact on dental health.”
The research has been published today in the Society for Applied Microbiology’s journal Letters in Applied Microbiology.
Professor Antonio added: “Whilst this is an exciting result, we have to be careful to add that there are problems associated with excessive coffee consumption, including staining and the effects of acidity on tooth enamel.
“And if you take a lot of sugar and cream in your coffee, any positive effects on dental health are probably going to be cancelled out.”
The society added that there's a possibility of using the chemical in the manufacture of toothpaste or mouthwash.
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