There’s nothing quite like drinking a beer and watching TV at the end of a long day. While beer is blamed for a lot of health concerns, like weight gain and liver failure, there is some evidence that it might have some health benefits, including fighting cavities and gum disease.
What’s in a Brew?
Many beers are made from a plant called hops, which is related to the stinging nettle. Hops is used to balance the sweetness of other ingredients in beer, such as malt or barley and give the beer the distinctive smell and flavor that is so familiar.
Hops is purported to have a number of health benefits. It has anti-microbial properties, which decrease the yeast used in beer production. It is also high in the antioxidant polyphenol. According to new research, these compounds fight cavities and gum disease, which in turn could lead to better dental health.
Bring on the Booze?
Well, maybe not yet. While the hops in beer does help with oral health, the portion of the plant with the highest percentage of antioxidants is often discarded before brewing. Additionally, beer is high in sugar, which increases bacterial content in the mouth, leading to cavities and gum disease.
However, a number of ancient cultures drank to excess comparative to our modern day drinking habits. Despite this, many of these cultures had a lower rate of dental problems. Researchers believe that the lower sugar content decreased the chance of cavities. So, if you were to make a homemade brew with less sugar than commercial brews and use the leaves of the Hops plant, rather than the flowers, it is possible that a cavity-fighting beer could be invented.
So, don’t go grab a bottle of beer from the fridge to save your teeth. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your nightly drink; just make sure you brush your teeth after!