A new study suggests that antioxidants in coffee can help lower gum disease risk.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine scientists. They used data from 1,152 men in the US Department of Veterans Affairs Dental Longitudinal Study (DLS).

The researchers found that coffee intake was associated with a small but statistically significant reduction in teeth and bone loss. The team said that coffee consumption might keep gums healthy - at least in adult males.

"We found that coffee consumption did not have an adverse effect on periodontal health, and, instead, may have protective effects against periodontal disease," said Nathan Ng of the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, lead author of the study.

"This is the first long-term study of its kind that has investigated the association between coffee consumption and periodontal disease in humans," Ng added, according to a news release.

The researchers controlled for other factors such as alcohol consumption, education, diabetes status, body mass index, dental cleaning and smoking. The study doesn't prove that coffee intake and dental health have a cause-and-effect relationship.

The team plans on using data from diverse groups to see whether or not there is a link between coffee consumption and gum disease.

The study is published in the Journal of Periodontology.

Several studies have been published on the benefits and harms of drinking coffee and tea. Coffee consumption has been linked to significantly lower incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD). The popular drink has also been linked to reduced risk of a common type of skin cancer and increased odds of living for a long time.