Texas Dentists Reviews Study on Coffee and Gum Health

dentistA trip to the dentist is important for keeping cavities and gum disease away.  If you want to stay in excellent oral health, you need to have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year in order to remove the bacteria and plaque that can cause an infection.  What you do at home is also important.  A good oral hygiene routine should include brushing and flossing throughout the day and eating a healthy diet.  Things like green leafy vegetables, lean protein, nuts, dairy, and crunchy vegetables can help to strengthen teeth and should be a part of your daily diet.

As a local dental office, we are always looking for new ways to keep our patients’ teeth and gums in optimal oral health.  We recently reviewed a study that was conducted by the University of Boston on the impact that coffee has on the health of gums and teeth.  Researchers, Nathan Ng and Raul Garcia wanted to find out if it created a negative or positive impact.  In order to do so, they reviewed data that had been collected by the Department of Veteran Affairs in Boston over the course of thirty years.  They observed over 1,100 men for three decades, collecting copies of their dental exams and food intake surveys.  This provided plenty of data for the University of Boston researchers to see the long-term effect of coffee on oral health.

The group of men was divided in two – those that drank at least a cup of coffee a day and those that did not.  They then reviewed the dental exam records for each participant and found that the men who drank coffee had stronger teeth with less bone decay.  This was a significant finding because the stronger teeth are, the less likely they are to fall out over time.  Even with advances in modern dentistry, seventy percent of U.S. adults suffer from some form of tooth loss.  One of the leading causes is gum disease because as the disease spreads, bone loss is common.  This led researchers to conclude that the benefits of drinking coffee lay in its ability to decrease gum disease.  As a dentist, we wanted to know why.

Coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.  The men who consumed it on a daily basis, likely prevented gum swelling, and therefore stopped or slowed the disease.  Lead study author, Raul Garcia, D.M.D. came to the same conclusion.  This is particularly interesting for people that are prone to swollen gums, like diabetics.  Perhaps drinking coffee could decrease their risk of gum disease.

As a dentist, we do want to warn patients that further research should be done to determine the effects of drinking coffee in women along with studying people in other parts of the country.  For now, drinking a cup of coffee every day may be helpful in preventing gum disease so long as you brush your teeth during the day.  Otherwise, coffee can stain your teeth, and the sugar inside of it can lead to an increased risk of cavities.

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