That is the question researchers at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine explored in a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Periodontology.
Lead author and 2014 DMD graduate Nathan Ng said, “We found that coffee consumption did not have an adverse effect on periodontal health, and, instead, may have protective effects against periodontal disease.”
Additional study authors were Drs. Raul Garcia and Elizabeth Kaye. Dr. Garcia is Chair of the Department of Health Policy & Health Services Research and Director of the Northeast Center for Research to Evaluate and Eliminate Dental Disparities. Dr. Kaye is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Health Services Research.
Coffee consumption was associated with a small but statistically significant reduction in number of teeth with periodontal bone loss. Researchers concluded that coffee consumption may be protective against periodontal bone loss in adult males—the group examined in the study.
“This is the first long-term study of its kind that has investigated the association between coffee consumption and periodontal disease in humans,” Ng added.
Researchers looked at data collected from 1,152 men in the US 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 at the start.
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.
Researchers suggest exploring their findings in a more diverse study population in the future.