The Surprising Way Beer Affects Your Teeth

Beer is a no fuss, easy-to-enjoy alcoholic drink option that many of us associate with some rather good times. According to USA Today, the average of drinking-age adult American drinks around 26.2 gallons of beer per year. And we understand why. Whether you're sharing a pint with your partner, or popping a cold one after a long day at work, that first sip is always a delight. 

Despite the drawbacks (like head-splitting hangovers and softer midsections) the internationally-loved beverage can cause when enjoyed too much or too often, there is a surprising plus that beer can have on our health. More specifically, our oral health. According to Family Tree Dental, beer gets rid of biofilm — that slimy coating around your teeth that one becomes especially aware of when they realize they've skipped a teeth brushing. In addition to being an uncomfortable sensation that is hard to ignore, biofilm has been linked to some serious oral hygiene issues like gingivitis or periodontal disease.

The research is still new

Beer's germ-busting power is particularly true for the ones that are high in hops. Hoppy beers — like those smooth pilsners and slightly bitter IPA's — contains tannins. These tannins both inhibit the growth of and ward off plaque-causing bacteria, explains Family Tree Dental

Not everyone is so quick to credit beer as a warrior for good oral hygiene. "Some very early research has shown that hops, a common component of beer, may have some positive effects on oral health and cavity protection," says Dr. Angelika Shein, a New York-based dentist to Healthline. But before you raise a toast to this news by opening another cold one, Shein adds, "But it's too early to be sure."

A swig of beer may wipe out harmful infection-causing bacteria, but like any other beverage, it has a risk of staining your teeth. Colgate recommends choosing a lighter beer that usually is lower in acidity and won't stain your teeth as noticeably as a stout or porter would.

In careful moderation, beer is a welcome drink to enjoy in both celebratory and stressful times. This makes any additional benefit it has to our health worth raising a toast to.