Those who drink coffee have a more beautiful smile

Chi beve caffè ha un sorriso più bello

Most of us love coffee for the energy boost and, if good, for the aroma. But what would you say if we told you that your morning cup of coffee could also have benefits for your teeth? Researchers have dived into the antimicrobial properties of coffee, and the results might make you smile.

What do we have in our mouths?

First, a quick review of dental cavities. Cavities are caused by a complex interaction between oral bacteria, our own susceptibility and our diet. Two major bacteria, Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus, play significant roles.

Traditional methods and natural substances

The traditional way to fight these bacteria and prevent cavities has been through mouthwashes containing fluoride or chlorhexidine. However, these substances are not without drawbacks. Excessive fluoride consumption in young children can lead to fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth. There Chlorohexidine , although effective, can alter taste and stain teeth.

To address these issues, the World Health Organization has recommended researching natural substances such as herbal extracts that may be equally effective. This brings us to coffee.

Science and coffee

Researchers then decided to carry out an in-depth study to examine how coffee extracts compare to traditional mouthwashes. The results?

Higher concentrations of coffee extract are significantly more effective at inhibiting S. mutans than either mouthwash chlorhexidine and fluorine. However, it is important to note that the chlorhexidine was even more effective against L. plantarum, another bacterium that contributes to cavity formation.

In simpler terms, coffee has shown a strong "bacteriostatic" effect on S. mutans. This means that it prevented the bacteria from growing further, although it did not kill them. As for L. plantarum, coffee showed a bacteriostatic effect only at much higher concentrations and, even then, the chlorhexidine was more effective.


One of the key elements in coffee that could contribute to its antimicrobial properties is its high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are natural compounds found in plants and have been shown to have various health benefits, including antimicrobial effects.

Daily implications

Given the concentrated levels in the study, drinking your daily coffee could potentially inhibit the growth of S. mutans, the main bacteria that causes tooth cavities. While it won't replace your mouthwash, it's an interesting additional line of defense against oral bacteria.


It is unlikely that the dentist will prescribe coffee as an anti-cavity remedy, we now have one more reason to love our coffee.

The antibacterial effects of coffee extract, chlorhexidine, and fluoride against Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus plantarum : An in vitro study. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2019 Sep 5;16(5):346-353. PMID: 31543942; PMCID: PMC6749852.


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