Friday, May 25, 2018

Dentist Questions Study Promoting Coffee for Health Benefits

dentist questions study on benefits of coffeeDr. Martin Hogan is a research dentist at the Loyola University Health System and has questioned a recent study published by the American Cancer Society that purports heavy coffee drinkers may reduce the risk of dying from mouth and throat cancer by half. “I do not recommend that my patients drink coffee,” says Dr. Hogan. “The study does suggest benefits but I would like to see more studies done to prove this correlation.”

The debates over the benefits of coffee consumption and the negative effects of tooth damage have always been debated by dentists and other doctors. Along with tea and red wine, coffee is a top cause of damaged tooth enamel. Although Dr. Hogan admits that there are benefits to drinking coffee he cites the fact that there were many other variables that were not documented in the study that may skew the results.

Hogan should know, he regularly assists in the diagnosis of oral cancer and works with oncological patients at Loyola. He went on to say that the top risks of oral cancers include alcohol consumption, smoking, chewing tobacco, biological factors such as fungi, viruses such as HPV and physical factors including exposure to UV radiation and exposure to x-rays. Although he did not mention it directly, Hogan alluded to the concern that the study published by the American Cancer Society may promote coffee consumption in lieu of other health risks such as those mentioned above.

Patients do not need any other reasons to excuse visits to the dentist to check for signs of oral cancer. In fact, many patients dismiss the early signs of oral cancer and do not report symptoms until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. “Oral cancer signs range from chronic sores in the mouth that do not heal to difficulty swallowing and many patients do not think they are a big enough deal to seek medical attention,” says Hogan.

It is recommended that patients visit their dentist at least twice a year to have a routine cleaning and examination that will check for early signs of oral cancer. Early detection is the key to early prevention and has shown to limit loss of life.

Hogan admits that there are benefits of drinking coffee but does not want them to overshadow action that could save lives. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.

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