Could Coffee Be Good for Your Teeth After All?

Could coffee be good for your teeth after all?

Strong black coffee, it turns out, has the potential to break down bacterial biofilms, an example of which is cavity-causing dental plaque.

Research, published today (11 June) in SfAM's Letters in Applied Microbiology journal, describes how an extract of Coffea canephora – a coffee variety mostly grown in Vietnam and Brazil – appears to cause bacteria in tooth-associated biofilms to break down.

Lead researcher, Andréa Antonio, from Rio de Janeiro's Federal University, said “Dental plaque is a classic complex biofilm and it's 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.”

Using milk teeth, donated to research by children, the team cultivated biofilms on tooth fragments using the bacteria in saliva samples. When the fragments were exposed in solution to an extract of the Vietnamese coffee beans, there were indications that the bacteria had burst open, or lysed.

Professor Antonio continued “Whilst this is an exciting result, we have to be careful to add that there are problems associated with excessive coffee consumption, including staining and the effects of acidity on tooth enamel. And if you take a lot of sugar and cream in your coffee, any positive effects on dental health are probably going to be cancelled out.”

It is likely that it is the polyphenol chemicals in coffee that damage the biofilm bacteria, but further research is required to determine this. Ultimately, there could be a possibility of extracting just the useful chemicals to use, perhaps, in a mouthwash or toothpaste.


Notes to Editors

About the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM)
SfAM is the oldest microbiology society in the UK, serving microbiologists around the world. As the voice of applied microbiology, SfAM works to advance, for the benefit of the public, the science of microbiology in its application to the environment, human and animal health, agriculture, and industry. It works in collaboration with other organizations to ensure evidence based policy making and, in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, publishes five internationally acclaimed journals. Value for money and a modern, innovative and progressive outlook are the Society's core principles. A friendly society, SfAM values integrity, honesty, and respect, and seeks to promote excellence and professionalism and to inspire the next generation of microbiologists.

About Wiley
Wiley is a global provider of content-enabled solutions that improve outcomes in research, education, and professional practice. Our core businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising; professional books, subscription products, certification and training services and online applications; and education content and services including integrated online teaching and learning resources for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners.

Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JWa, JWb), has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 450 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace. Wiley's global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company's website can be accessed at

Press Contact:

For the full text article referred to, or to arrange a phone or email interview, please contact Nancy Mendoza, Society for Applied Microbiology, [email protected], +44 (0) 7920 264596.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Pressat Wire, on Wednesday 11 June, 2014. For more information subscribe and follow

Coffee Health
Published By

Pressat Wire

Pressat Wire
[email protected]

Alison Lancaster
[email protected]

Visit Newsroom


No media attached. Please contact Pressat Wire for more information.

Additional PR Formats