Sometimes Science Can Be Really Awesome ...
Sponsored Content Byline: Who Does Your Teeth?
As of late, researchers have spent time checking out people’s mouths to see if drinking beer can actually be good for your oral (and overall) health.
A study conducted at the University of Iowa Dental School indicates that beer with high levels of calcium and phosphate inhibits the loss of minerals from the teeth.
Beer also contains tannins that are considered to be “good” acids. Research at the California School of Dentistry in Los Angeles concluded that tannins in beer are as effective as fluoride in preventing bacteria from sticking to tooth enamel.
Hops contain compounds that are bacteriostatic, fungistatic and anti-inflammatory. These compounds inhibit the growth of microorganisms in the mouth and act as a natural antibiotic.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen looked for an association between alcohol consumption and the number of teeth older people had. It was noted that women who downed quite a few drinks each week lost fewer teeth than those who abstained from alcohol, regardless of what type of alcohol they drank!
The result for men was a little different. Only men who preferred beer had more teeth than those who abstained from alcohol. The amount needed to keep their pearly whites in tact was 6 drinks per week.
There are, however, some things to note about this study – so don't throw away your toothbrush and go buy a six pack right this second. The people with fewer teeth were said to have other contributing factors for tooth loss: Age, lower socioeconomic status, history of smoking and sedentary lifestyles.
There is a lot of contradictory information about how beer actually affects teeth. In September 2012, USA Today and WNDU covered the story of a woman who was hit in the face with a case of Natural Light Beer during a brawl, only blocks from the Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. The report stated that she lost her entire bottom row of teeth. In her case, I would have to agree that beer was not good for her teeth.
To this day, we have no way of knowing whether the fight broke out due to the effects of beer, or as the consequence of being the closest object the brawling Neanderthals could find. Either way, beware of the influence too much beer can have on your wagging tongue. Statements about another’s mother can cause tooth damage pretty quickly.
Teeth can also be damaged when used as an implement for opening beer bottles or cans. Although there are many videos on the Internet that glorify this dental damage, many of your moms and dads spent a lot of cash on those pearly whites when you were younger, so show some respect.
In All Seriousness
Beer can stain teeth – particularly those darker beers that are crafted with roasted barley or black patent malt, or aged with currants or berries. And forget about food coloring. During St. Patrick’s Day, many breweries serve up beverages that have been dyed green and will have your teeth matching after just a few gulps.
Further, the acids in beer can attack the enamel on your teeth in a process called demineralization. This loss of tooth enamel starts at a pH of 5.5, but can occur at higher pH levels, given the right circumstances. Note: The lower the pH level, the more acidic the beer.
Darker malts have more natural acidity. The pH in beer varies, with the average craft beer having a range somewhere between 5.4-5.8. Sour beers can be as low as 3.2-3.3. If you think you are safer with soft drinks and juice, don’t be so presumptuous. The acid level in colas hovers around a pH of 2.5, grapefruit juice pH is around 3.0 and sherry wine clocks in around 3.37.
It goes without saying, but don’t drink to the point of gluttony. The acids in vomit really damage the teeth. Vomit has a pH of 2.0 and can go as low as 1.0 if you get to the point of projectile missiles. Yuck.
If you drink regularly – and even if you don’t, always brush twice a day whitening toothpaste, and consider getting your teeth professionally whitened. But one cautionary suggestion to prevent the re-staining of your teeth: For 24-48 hours after whitening, stay away from acidic foods and beverages as well as colored toothpaste/mouthwash and do not smoke.
Most seriously, alcohol consumption is still a major risk factor for oral cancer. This is mainly due to toxic affects of acetaldehyde, a major byproduct that is produced when your body breaks down alcohol.
Other Health Benefits
Research released by Cambridge University has indicated that women who consume small amounts of beer on a daily basis may be able to naturally increase bone density and gain a bit of protection against osteoporosis.
Professor Jonathan Powell of Cambridge University conducted research which found that ethanol, the compound that gives beer the “kick” we all enjoy so much, is a great source of dietary silicon that can actually encourage new bone growth. According to this study, humans need about 8 mcg of dietary silicon daily, the equivalent found in 16 ounces of beer.
As a rule of thumb, beers with a high level of barley and hops are loaded with calcium and silicon, which not only strength teeth and bones, but hair and nails too.
Contributed by Carolyn Smagalski (The Beer Fox)
Cultured, yet finely brushed, the Beer Fox appears to be a specimen of healthy imbibing. It’s a matter of survival.
About Dr. Neal
Born in Portland, Maine, Dr. Jeffrey A. Neal moved at the age of one and was raised in Nokesville, Va. He excelled during his high school years and graduated valedictorian of his class. He went on to get his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from College of William and Mary in 1993. However, his passion for learning did not stop there, and he went on to study dentistry at the Medical College of Virginia School of Dentistry. During his time there, he was able to go to Israel to study and teach dentistry there. He regards this as one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of his life.
Dr. Neal graduated in 1997, and he also received the Society of Dentistry for Children Award. While studying in MCV, he fell in love with the life and color of Richmond, VA, and decided to open his practice near there in Henrico, Virginia. At present, Dr. Neal offers a wide range of dental services, including orthodontics, treatments for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and now sleep medicine. Devoted to continued learning, Dr. Neal strives to be the best he can be with all the current technology. Most years, Dr. Neal completes over 200 hours of continuing education courses for the superior treatment of his patients.
For more information, visit www.whodoesyourteeth.com. Call (804) 447-1435 to learn more!
Who Does Your Teeth?
2215 Pump Road
Henrico, VA 23233