Dr. Lockwood, in La Jolla, CA explains how hops is good for our teeth.With local breweries popping up all over the county, San Diego is quickly on its way towards becoming the craft beer capital of the world. We even have our own Indian Pale Ale (IPA) category, the “San Diego Pale Ale!” Ballast Point, Green Flash, Stone Brewing Company, Alpine Brewing Company,…, the list of local breweries to choose from goes on and the amazing thing is, choose whichever one you choose, you’re unlikely to go wrong.

With so much local beer production, you’d think that San Diegans would have the healthiest smiles in the United States. Why is that? Because, believe it or not, beer is good for our teeth! Specifically, hop, a frequent ingredient in modern brews — especially in San Diego pale ales, which are double IPAs —, is an anti-bacterial that can help you combat tooth decay and gum disease.

Beer: A Tasty Mouthwash

Humulus, or hop, hasn’t always been a popular brewing ingredient. During the early colonial period of American history it was actually quite rare to include hop in a beer recipe (for a long time it was considered a “wicked and pernicious weed”). However, because much of our beer had to be imported from England at the time, merchants found that their liquid wares were being spoiled by bacteria during the seaborne trip from one country to the other. To protect their goods from this threat, breweries began to use hops to ensure that the beer would stay fresh during the cross-Atlantic trip.

It also happens to be that hop gives beer a very unique taste, explaining why the practice of including it in recipes continues to this day. The exact effect of including hops depends on the type being used — some affect the bitterness of the brew, while others will alter the beer’s aroma. Oftentimes, to alter both, the brewer will opt to use what are known as dual purpose, or dual use, hops.

So what does any of this have to do with our teeth? The hop leaf comes with a group of chemicals known as polyphenols. These are known to help prevent oral cancer, but researchers found that they can also help to reverse gum disease and to prevent the buildup of plaque. By stopping the growth of plaque on our teeth, polyphenols indirectly protect us from the tooth decay-causing bacteria that use plaque as scaffolding. Another useful component in hop is xanthohumol, which is also a type of phenol. Not only has xanthohumol been found useful in killing viruses, but researches have also recently found that it helps prevent bacteria from sticking to our teeth.

According to researchers, these chemicals are found in abundance on bracts, which refers to the leaves on the hop bud. These, unfortunately, aren’t a common ingredient to beer, because they don’t really add to the taste or aroma. Maybe in the future a brewery will come out with a “for your teeth” recipe, although until then the next best thing is to drink a nice, cold San Diego pale ale — not only are they hop heavy, but the beer is clearer, meaning it has a lesser propensity to stain the teeth (dark beers are known to yellow).

Safeguard Your Health and Visit our La Jolla, CA Office

As healthy as hoppy beer may be for our teeth, it’s not enough to make sure our smile stays strong and healthy. If you’re missing teeth, neither is beer enough to reduce the heightened health risks associated with tooth loss. The best solution is the dental implant, a permanent replacement tooth that will make it seem as if you never had missing teeth to begin with. Learn more about dental implants and contact our La Jolla, CA office to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation with Dr. Lockwood today: !