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Coffee & Tooth Care  RSS feed

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Black coffee reduces the incidence of tooth caries [1].

The results showed that coffee most consumed was roasted coffee, and the frequency on an average was about three cups per day, for an average period of 35 years. The Decayed/Missing/Filled Surface (DMFS) scores varied from 2.9, in subjects who drank black coffee, to 5.5 in subjects who consumed coffee together with sweeteners and creaming agents. The DMFS score was 3.4 in subjects who consumed coffee together with milk but no sugar. The DMFS score of the control subjects was 4, indicating that coffee if consumed alone had anticaries action, but in the presence of additives the antibacterial and anticaries action was totally minimized.

As it says above, adding sugar makes drinking coffee increase the incidence of caries. Even though coffee is acidic, reasons it reduces tooth caries incidence include antioxidant content:

Maximum antioxidant activity was observed for the medium-roasted coffee; the dark coffee had a lower antioxidant activity...

And more reasons it reduces caries incidence [2]:

Furthermore, in the present review coffee was found to be another effective biofilm “killer.” This can be attributed to its enhanced anti-adhesive and anti-biofilm properties

Also, do not use isomalt or sorbitol artificial sweeteners as they promote caries just like sugar does (I'd encourage caution with other "sugar-free" sweeteners as well) [3].

Plenty of other diet/procedure advice elsewhere for improving tooth health. But I thought it very important to point this out about black coffee!

“Black coffee must be strong and very hot; if strong coffee does not agree with you, do not drink black coffee. And if you do not drink black coffee, do not drink any coffee at all.” ~ André Simon


Make sure you're consuming enough calcium daily. Calcium is excreted in your saliva by your salivary glands. If your body is low on calcium... it is allocated instead to essential things like your heart beating, and your teeth when demineralized by acids aren't being mineralized again by saliva!

I don't know if I have a reference for the above calcium claims... in my bookmarks somewhere.


A brief writeup on the chemistry of teeth I highly recommend [4]. A brief synopsis of [4]:

There is a concept known as critical pH, and when pH levels in the mouth become too acid and go below this critical pH, then the tooth enamel starts to demineralize (ie, dissolve away). But when the pH is above the critical pH (more alkaline), then the then the tooth enamel starts to remineralize (ie, the enamel surface rebuilds and thickens itself from the minerals found in the saliva).

Hydroxylapetite has a critical pH of 5.5 - Your natural enamel, dentin, cementum (tooth root).
Chlorapatite has a critical pH of ~5.0? - Chloride treated enamel.
Fluorapatite has a critical pH of 4.5 - Fluoride treated enamel.
Saliva pH in a healthy person is between 7.1 and 7.5. It acts as a buffer helping neutralizing acidic things.
Bacteria consume carbohydrates and produce lactic acid (pH 2.4) as a byproduct, this is the principal cause of cavities, not the bacteria per se, but the lactic acid demineralizing your teeth.
Orange juice is above lactic acid with pH ~3.3.
Lemon juice is below that at a pH of 2.
Coffee brews vary between pH 4.3 - 4.6.
Tomato puree varies between 4.3 - 4.5.
Water dilutes things, bringing them closer to a pH of 7.

As you age your saliva production goes down (xerostomia). With insufficient saliva, your risk of caries increases quite a bit.

Make sure to lightly brush your teeth with soft (not hard/medium!) bristles before consuming breakfast, and before bed so that fluoride is available to replace the OH- ion lost if acid attacks the tooth (forming fluorapatite). You see, brushing your teeth by itself doesn't necessarily form fluorapatite, there must be an acid to remove the OH- ion from the tooth (e.g. overnight as bacteria produce lactic acid). So never rinse your mouth with water after brushing your teeth, just spit it out, and consider leaving it in your mouth for a few minutes, especially if you're currently experiencing decay!

The idea behind fluoride acidic mouthwashes is that they remove the OH- ion themselves and add the fluoride to make fluorapatite within those 30 seconds you swish. Never use said mouthwash longer than the directions say, they are very acidic and would make your teeth soft/demineralized (less healthy) overall. I don't recommend any of the off-the-shelf mouthwashes by the way [5], fluoride toothpaste is all you need, and a DIY rinse [6], rinse with this immediately following acidic or highly sugary meals/snacks.

Also... if you're against using fluoride products, consider using the fluoride toothpaste in the morning and the non-fluoride toothpaste at night? Never drink any soda if you refuse fluoride toothpaste. This video may help set your mind at ease on fluoride in toothpaste, though I do concede that even without swallowing it, some fluoride may permeate the gums and perhaps be unkind to organs. But I think the benefit exceeds the risk in this context (certainly in fluoridation of municipal water the risks outweigh any benefit). Fluoride in this context refers to either potassium fluoride or sodium fluoride, and fluorine refers to the element.


Lots of interesting information in this forum (e.g. clarity on arresting decay). One more thing I will say is, if you do go to a dentist, don't go to a "drill and fill" dentist who will drill out every sign of demineralization he sees (millionaire who characteristically blames you for a big $$$ bill for not flossing, not coming in only every 6 months or whatever). Find a drill-free dentist which practices minimally invasive dentistry, who adopts a "wait-and-see" approach if minor decay can be resolved with better oral care after instruction. There are compounds which have been out many decades which dissolve only the demineralized tooth matter unlike drills which take out surrounding healthy tissue; drills are a thing of the past (unless you're looking forward to being 1-2mm closer to a $1k+ root canal like Mr. Drill-and-fill is). Also never get dental implants (titanium screw) it seems every dentist and their dog is trying to sell for $$$ after seeing all those dollar signs... bring up bad examples that happened in the past and characteristically they'll say "oh it's so much better now!"... it's not, they're bad for your long term health, and harm outweighs benefit. God forbid they also try to sell you sinus lift procedures with crap pseudo bone they think is just fine for you! If you doubt my claims on dental implants, read through negligence/malpractice cases for a reality check.

I have more research to do and share about off the grid tooth care, but don't have the time to write it up for the next few months. I'm putting together a DIY procedure for making bio-mimetic enamel (literally fill in holes). It's not that hard, you'd just need a mg scale, a thermoplastic vacuum frame (can DIY one), alginate (seaweed extract), plaster of paris, PETG thermoplastic sheet, beeswax, four simple chemicals (KH2PO4, CaCl2, NaF, and EDTA), the ability to measure ingredients (can you bake a cake from scratch?), the skill of a grade school artist, and ability to routinely use the tray every night. I'd be building off of a great paper by Chinese authors. They've been trying to accelerate their process with lasers to speed up the crystal growth (with inferior results compared to their laser-free results IMO). I believe their initial work can be done with DIY trays over the course of a ~2-3 months per mm (1 mm is a LOT when you consider enamel is at thickest 2.5mm on the cusp). I have all the equipment and chemicals except the thermoplastic sheet... after I get that I'll do the procedure ex-vivo, and in-vivo, and get some scanning electron microscope imagery of the ex-vivo result, and regular photos of the in-vivo results.
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Where are you located? I need you to work on my teeth.
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Andrew Smart wrote:Find a drill-free dentist which practices minimally invasive dentistry, who adopts a "wait-and-see" approach if minor decay can be resolved with better oral care after instruction.

My father, a retired professor of dentistry, agrees with this philosophy.  Even though I prize my one and only filling, which he installed using the now nearly extinct technique of gold foil, he thinks he probably didn't need to do it and could have just let the tooth heal itself.

He thinks most modern dentistry is retrograde, and says if people simply avoided sugar and soda, had an otherwise healthy lifestyle, and brushed their teeth, most dentists would be out of work.
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