Local Dentist Reviews Gum Study Conducted by Boston University

DentistAs a local dentist, we like to stay abreast of industry news and information so that we can provide our patients with new ways to improve their oral health.  As new science emerges, and studies are conducted, we are learning more about how oral health and overall physical health are connected.  We already knew that gum disease and heart disease are tied together and now, a recent study shows one way to prevent gum disease.

Boston University monitored 1,000 men for 30 years.  This long-term study was to determine if drinking coffee had any impact on oral health – apparently it does.  Men that drank a cup of coffee, or more, every day had less bone loss in their teeth than those who didn’t.  Bone loss is a common sign of gum disease, leading researchers to believe that drinking a daily cup of joe is good for your teeth and gums.  Given that the study was conducted over three decades, the results appear to be conclusive.  They also determined that drinking coffee did not directly harm teeth and gums, in other words; there were no clear side effects.

The study was published by Raul Garcia, D.M.D.  In his report, he indicated that the caffeine in coffee was responsible for reducing gum inflammation which is likely why the men who drank coffee, had fewer symptoms of gum disease.  Inflamed gums are often the first sign of the disease and followed up by bleeding and receding gums.  Gum disease is particularly damaging because it is not only painful but as the gums recede they create pockets where bacteria often gathers and starts to attack exposed teeth and their root system. As a dentist, we encourage patients to practice healthy habits in order to reduce their risk of the disease.

Fortunately, those that get gum disease have treatment options.  We recommend that patients have their teeth cleaned at least twice a year because this gives us the opportunity to remove bacteria and plaque while allowing us to identify any signs of cavities or gum disease.  In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis and can be treated with a deep cleaning.  In this procedure, we remove bacteria and plaque from on, around, and underneath the gums.  Once removed, the gums will start to heal themselves naturally.  The challenge is that many people don’t see a dentist on a regular basis which makes early detection impossible.  By the time gums recede, more serious treatments are required in order to close pockets within the gum tissue and secure the gums around the teeth again.

Drinking coffee is one of the ways to prevent gum disease but certainly not the only way.  Brushing and flossing throughout the day are still the first line of defense and should ideally be done after meals, not just twice a day.  Drinking plenty of water is also important for staying hydrated and producing saliva.  Those that drink coffee for their gum health should also remember that coffee can stain teeth, so brushing immediately after is a good idea.  We also offer teeth whitening services to brighten teeth, after the fact.

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