When most people think about beverages that are good for your teeth, they almost never think of coffee or green tea. That is because these drinks have long been associated with containing acids that cause tough stains on teeth and tooth erosion.
While it's true that green tea and coffee can leave your teeth a different color if you're not stringent about dental care, you may be surprised to know that these beverages can actually have benefits for teeth.
According to the Human Metabolome Database, coffee contains trigonelline, which has been shown to potentially prevent dental cavities by keeping the bacteria, S.mutans from sticking to teeth. S.mutans is the leading cause of tooth decay worldwide. While there are hundreds of types of bacteria in your mouth, S.mutans is considered the most dangerous to your teeth.
Also, the bacteria feed on refined carbohydrates, such as the kind that can be found in sugar, fruit, starches and milk, and the trigonelline in coffee, provide a protective barrier for your teeth to keep S.mutans from sticking to them and causing erosion.
Similarly, green tea has been shown to have dental health benefits. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that men who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects who consumed less of the beverage.
Furthermore, Discovery Health reported on a 2010 study in Preventative Medicine which found that drinking one cup of green teen a day may help people keep their teeth as they age, but only if they don't put sugar in it.
There are ways to enjoy these beverages and reduce the chances that they will stain your teeth. Better Homes and Gardens magazine suggests using a straw to drink from (this works better with iced coffee or tea) and swishing with water after each beverage, which has been shown to reduce cavity-causing bacteria by thirty percent.
Are you surprised to hear that coffee and tea are good for your dental health? Let us know in the comments below.