Researchers at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine wanted to know if, since coffee contains antioxidants and antioxidants fight periodontal disease, does it follow that coffee helps fight periodontal disease? Their results were published in a new study in the Journal of Periodontology (August 2014, Vol. 85:8, pp. 1042-1049).
"We found that coffee consumption did not have an adverse effect on periodontal health, and, instead, may have protective effects against periodontal disease," lead author Nathan Ng, DMD, said in a statement.
Researchers analyzed data from 1,152 men in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study (DLS) during triennial dental visits between 1968 and 1998. The DLS is a prospective study of the oral health of medically healthy male veterans that began in 1968. The men were 98% non-Hispanic white males ages 26 to 84.
In the study, a small but statistically significant reduction in number of teeth with periodontal bone loss was found in those who consumed coffee. Coffee consumption may be protective against periodontal bone loss in this group, the researchers concluded.
"This is the first long-term study of its kind that has investigated the association between coffee consumption and periodontal disease in humans," Dr. Ng noted.
Information on coffee intake was self-reported by the participants. Researchers controlled for risk factors such as alcohol consumption, education, diabetes status, body mass index, smoking, frequency of brushing and flossing, and recent periodontal treatment or dental cleanings.
The researchers suggested exploring their findings in a more diverse study population in the future.