The research, published in Letters in Applied Microbiology journal has found that strong black coffee has the ability to break down bacterial biofilms such as dental plaque.
The team at Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University cultivated biofilms on deciduous teeth, donated by children for research.
When the teeth were exposed to an extract of Coffea canephora, a coffee mostly grown in Vietnam and Brazil, there were signs that the bacteria had burst open or lysed.
Lead researcher, Andréa Antonio, from Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University, said: ‘We are always looking for natural compounds that can have a positive impact on dental health.
‘Whilst this is an exciting result, we have to be careful to add that there are problems associated with excessive coffee consumption, including staining and the effects of acidity on tooth enamel.
‘And if you take a lot of sugar and cream in your coffee, any positive effects on dental health are probably going to be cancelled out.’
The Society for Applied Microbiology reported: ‘It is the polyphenol chemicals in coffee that damage the biofilm bacteria, but further research is required to determine this.
‘Ultimately, there could be a possibility of extracting just the useful chemicals to use, perhaps, in a mouthwash or toothpaste.’