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Brazilian study shows coffee could stop tooth decay

By Dental Tribune International
June 11, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: New research from Brazil has indicated that consumption of Coffea canephora, commonly known as Robusta coffee, a species of coffee mostly grown in Vietnam and Brazil, could benefit oral health. In laboratory experiments, the scientists observed that the coffee initiated mineralization of tooth enamel. Thus, they suggested that it could help stop the destruction of enamel tissue through dental caries.

In order to determine changes in calcium concentration, the team exposed tooth fragments to Coffea canephora extract. According to the study, the calcium concentration increased after only four days of treatment. The researchers suggested that the increase was probably due to the antibacterial effect of the coffee extract, which caused lysis of the cultivated biofilms on the fragments.

"Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it is the main culprit in tooth decay and gum disease. We are always looking for natural compounds — food and drink, even — that can have a positive impact on dental health," said lead researcher Dr. Andréa Antonio, associate professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Overall, the study revealed that Robusta coffee has an inhibitory effect on dental biofilm. "Therefore, a light roasted Coffea canephora aqueous extract can be considered as a potential anticariogenic substance," the researchers concluded.

The study, titled "Antibacterial Effect of Coffee: Calcium Concentration in a Culture Containing Teeth/Biofilm Exposed to Coffea Canephora Aqueous Extract," was published online on June 7 in the Letters in Applied Microbiology.

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