In the past, some people have pointed to coffee as a potential cause of gum disease, cavities, and other oral health problems. However, one recent study indicates that coffee may actually protect your gums and reduce your risk of bone loss due to gum disease.
Studies on Aging and Oral Health
Researchers for this study, e-published ahead of print in the Journal of Periodontology in December, looked at existing data from the VA Dental Longitudinal Study. Men were about 48 when the study began, and then the more than 1100 subjects were followed for up to 30 years. These men received regular dental exams and the results were recorded, including the depth of pockets around their teeth, and the extent of bone loss due to periodontal disease.
As part of the study, researchers looked at food consumption surveys subjects took over the course of the study. They found that coffee consumption was associated with a small but significant reduction in the number of teeth that experienced bone loss.
They also found no evidence to suggest that coffee consumption contributed to periodontal disease.
Take These Findings with a Grain of Salt (Not a Spoon of Sugar)
Although these findings are significant because they provide pretty good evidence that coffee consumption doesn’t seem to lead to periodontal damage, they don’t tell us many things we would like to know. For example, there’s no real analysis of the mechanism of protection, nor is there any description of caries-related properties. We also don’t know under what circumstances coffee may provide protective effects. Food surveys are also notoriously inaccurate, which means a small but significant effect may vanish in another study.
However, this means you shouldn’t worry about giving up coffee because of your periodontal health, although you should consider cutting back on sugar in your coffee, especially if you have a habit of sipping your java all day long.
And, of course, you may be unhappy with the tooth staining that results from constant coffee consumption. Teeth whitening can help with that.
For more information on maintaining the health and attractiveness of your teeth, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics at (509) 532-1111 today.