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Coffee May Fight Gum Disease

Here’s another reason to love that cup of java in the morning! It appears that a research team at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine showed that coffee has no negative impact on periodontal health and a minimal effect on the teeth affected by periodontitis and bone loss.

Coffee, like red wine, is one of the hot topics in dentistry, due to its staining factor. However, as posted earlier, there was a study that showed that certain strains of coffee (Robust vs Arabica) were beneficial in holding off tooth decay and strengthening teeth. It seems counterintuitive as coffee does have a fairly high level of acidity at a pH level around 5. Soda has a pH level around 3, which is why dentists and health practitioners find it troublesome. It can help dissolve and deminizeralize teeth fairly quickly.

With a pH of around 5, coffee is by all standards, fairly mild. It is probably the mild acidity and high level of antioxidants in coffee that help protect the gums and eliminate bacteria that are causing damage in people with gingivitis and periodontal disease.

The effects of coffee were small, but statistically significant on the basis of patients who had teeth with periodontal bone loss. The group studied was comprised of adult males who were primarily Caucasian, but as the first long-term study to look into the associations of coffee consumption and gum disease, it lends valuable insights. These insights will hopefully lead to better understandings of how to control risk factors and what can be done to mitigate them, including finding out the properties of coffee that help reduce gum disease.

Coffee gets a bad rap for being a staining agent, especially in a society practically obsessed with white teeth being a sign of good health. While staining is an annoying and often embarrassing problem, I believe we should place more emphasis on the health of teeth over the appearance first. Many people with “perfect” white smiles often have numerous issues that are hidden just below the surface. Just as many, if not more, who have stained or normally aged teeth without bleaching, have teeth in perfect or near-perfect health.

Diversification of study subjects will lend further findings that can confirm or alter the current study’s findings.

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