Beer is big business in Colorado, and as many beer enthusiasts know, hops are the key flavouring agents that lend beer distinctive aroma and bitterness; they also act as natural preservatives.
But did you know that hops also contain antioxidants that may be beneficial in the battle against tooth decay and gum disease?
The Dental Benefits of Bracts
Japanese researchers recently identified substances in a portion of hops not used for beer production that could help fight cavities and periodontal disease and may have other health benefits. Their findings were published in the February 2014 edition of the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Earlier research into hops detected the presence of polyphenol antioxidants in hops leaves, which are known as bracts. Among other health benefits, polyphenols limit the adverse effects of bacteria. Extracts from the bracts were shown to prevent the bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease from sticking to the teeth surfaces and reduce the release of bacterial toxins.
Dental Applications of Hops
Using a technique called chromatography, researchers also discovered within the bracts a number of compounds not previously known to exist in hops, including substantial amounts of proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins are healthful antioxidants also found in grapes and blueberries among other foods.
U.S. farmers harvest about 30,000 tons of hops each year, but the bracts are not used for beer and are typically discarded. Researchers believe these bracts could be used for dental applications.
Further study is ongoing into how the antioxidants in hops bracts contribute to positive oral health effects. Additional study will likewise be required as to whether and how bracts can be successfully and practically repurposed.
Beer Should Not Replace Brushing
It should be noted that the dental benefits of hops are not associated with drinking beer.
Beer and other alcoholic beverages contain carbohydrates that can contribute to plaque accumulation and the eventual onset of tooth decay and periodontal disease. It’s important to maintain a good dental hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth at least twice every day—especially after meals and alcohol consumption—and regular dental visits for checkups and teeth cleanings.
Don’t trust your dental health to hops. If you’re looking for an experienced, friendly dentist in the Colorado Springs area, please contact The Studio for Exceptional Dentistry or call 709-602-2614 to schedule your appointment with Dr Andrew Hall.