A new research study indicates that coffee might help prevent cavities. The finding is reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Coffee made from roasted beans has antibacterial activities against certain microorganisms, including Streptococcus mutans, a major cause of dental caries. Scientists at two Italian universities conducted laboratory tests that showed coffee molecules prevent adhesion of S. mutans on tooth enamel.
"All coffee solutions have high antiadhesive properties due to naturally ocurring and roasting-induced molecules," says the lead author, Gabriella Gazzani, of Pavia University. She and researchers at the University of Ancona analysed samples of green and roasted arabica and robusta coffee from different countries.
"All of the tested samples inhibited S. mutans adsorption and showed inhibitory activity ranging from 40.5 pr cent to 98.1 per cent," according to findings. However, it is also said that "all green (unroasted beans) coffee samples were significantly found to be less active than the corresponding roasted coffees."
The reasearchers examined caffeine and non-caffeine samples of ground and instant coffee. Instant coffee had a higher level of inhibitory activity against S. mutans. As for caffeine and decaf, the results seem to indicate that "caffeine is not involved in the antiadhesive properties of coffee solutions," according to the article.
The study data suggest that trigonelline, a water-solubel compound in coffee that contributes to the aroma and flavour of the beverage, "may have the major responsibility for coffee's anti-adhesive activity." "Nevertheless," researchers conclude, "we can hypotheside that due to antibacterial and anti-adhesive activity, coffee might reduce S. mutans colonisation of tooth surface and might be effective in preventing S. mutans-induced tooth decay."