Coffee, like many of the foods that we consume habitually has suffered throughout the recent history pendulum movements in the perception of its properties; oscillating, according to the times, between harmful and beneficial according to the changing results of scientific publications.
Coffee is a beverage full of flavor, good to keep us alert and makes the day more enjoyable. The coffee, was born in the year 1140 in Abyssinia, when some shepherds realized that their goats were getting very restless and were given the task of investigating the reason for this euphoria.
They discovered that they were eating red fruits that were given in some bushes. The shepherds took the fruits, toasted them and prepared a hot drink to protect themselves from the desert night chill. Since that day coffee has become one of the most used and most precious drinks for the most select palates.
Lately many beneficial properties have been discovered such as reducing headache, avoiding blood clots, reducing the risk of suffering from Parkinson’s disease, improving asthma and allergies, preventing stone formation, decreasing the risk of developing cancer, reducing depression, reducing the risk of developing diabetes and one of the most important for oral health the prevention of caries. Always a moderate consumption between three and four cups a day.
Caries is one of the chronic diseases with more prevalence among all sectors of the population although in the young population including children it is observed more. The caries is an endogenous infection that causes destruction of the hard tissues of the tooth by the bacterial activity that are able to produce through the glycosyltransferase, insoluble adhesive polysaccharides the formation of a plaque that mediates the accumulation of the streptococci allowing the adhesion of these last on the surface of the tooth. All this process can be inhibited through the consumption of specific products such as, the apple that inhibits the formation of plaque, the wine that inhibits the formation of the biofilm of streptococcus mutants, it tea (green tea) that has antimicrobial activity on the mutants streptococci.
In a recent study where caries indices were observed in 1000 patients of both sexes who consumed only coffee as a beverage, it was found that the rate of caries in patients who drank coffee without additives (sugar or milk) was 2.9 in the subjects who consumed coffee with sugars and milk, the caries index was 5.5 and the subjects who consumed were drinking milk but without adding sugars, the caries index was 3.4. The conclusions of this study were that coffee helps in the prevention of caries but only if it is consumed without additives.
This property of coffee is allowed by the presence of polyphenols in it. The presence of the latter in coffee ranges from 5.5% to 12%. Polyphenols have many properties such as, for example, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic activity and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Coffee has no effect on the inhibition of mutant’s streptococcus growth but it significantly reduces them on the surface of the tooth.
In a very recent study indicate that the components of coffee (melanoidin) have an anti-biofilm and anti-adhesion activity that does not allow streptococcus mutants to adhere to the hydroxyapatite of the tooth. The creation of the biofilm was completely inhibited in the presence of the fractions with a high molecular weight and only 20% in the presence of the melanoidin components.
With all this we can say that consuming coffee without additives of any kind and in a moderate way can help in the prevention of dental caries but we must always bear in mind that it is a drink that can color the teeth if consumed in an exaggerated way.