Studies show that over half of Americans drink coffee every day. Conventional wisdom, and society in general, has often pointed to coffee as a leading cause of stains on teeth. After all, it stands to reason that the dark pigments in coffee could stain porous surfaces like your teeth. Most Boston-area dentists would confirm this, and while it is true coffee can have that effect, new studies show that these risks may be negated by potential oral health benefits.
First, the idea that coffee can really decrease the whiteness of your teeth is slightly exaggerated. Although coffee does have very dark pigments, the risk of staining is almost completely negated by the regular brushing habits recommended by the American Dental Association. In other words: as long as you’re already brushing twice daily, you needn’t worry too much about coffee tarnishing your pearly whites. Adding milk, half-and-half or other creamer products that contain fats also help to prevent coffee stains from setting in.
All this is good news for your teeth, because besides carrying minor cosmetic risks in the form of pigments, coffee has some proven benefits to overall oral health. Coffee seems to prevent tooth decay by preventing the bacterial culprits from multiplying. When coffee was tested on S. Mutans (a bacteria that causes tooth decay) it was found to reduce the amount of bacteria by 98% as compared to control groups that weren’t drinking coffee.
The study tested roasted and un-roasted beans of both the Arabica and Robusta coffee strains. Interestingly, after testing both types, researches found that roasted coffee provided a better defense against harmful bacteria.
Coffee also acts as an anti-adhesive agent, preventing would-be tooth decaying bacteria from sticking to the surfaces of your teeth (and therefore staining them) Even if regular brushing habits don’t fully prevent staining of your teeth, modern cosmetic dentistry has made teeth whitening a simple and safe procedure. Learn more about whitening procedures at Central New England Dental, your local Auburn, MA dentist.