Alcohol sales across the U.S. have been going up the past few weeks (wonder why?), which means more and more people are kicking back, relaxing, and cracking open a delicious beer. Everyone knows that too much alcohol is bad for you, but what about your teeth? How does your go-to frosty beverage affect your pearly whites? Are you putting your oral health at risk with each sip? Pop open a bottle and learn everything you need from a dentist on Long Island.
Before you can talk about how beer affects the mouth, it’s good to understand what it actually is. All beer is basically cereal grain that is allowed to ferment and become alcohol, and then that alcohol is fermented. Throughout the process, any number of flavors can be added, and pretty much every ingredient can be tweaked to create a different (but always tasty) result.
How Beer Can Be Bad For Your Teeth
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first—you didn’t think beer was going to be as good for your teeth as a glass of milk, right? Regularly consuming beer carries with it the same risks as other carbonated beverages, because this carbonation makes it slightly acidic, which can eat away at your enamel over time. Alcohol has also been shown to dry out the mouth, which increases the risk for cavities because there isn’t enough saliva to wash away harmful food particles and bacteria. And if you particularly enjoy darker beers, then there is a good chance they will stain your teeth over time.
How Beer Can Be Good For Your Teeth
Thankfully, beer isn’t just bad news for your smile! Lighter beers, particularly those that are brewed with fresh ingredients, contain high levels of silicon and calcium thanks to the barley and hops, which are essential for strong teeth, bones, nails, and hair. During the fermentation process, a lot of bacteria is created, some of which has been shown to actually combat the bad bacteria often found in the mouth, which can help protect you from cavities, gum disease, and other oral infections.
To Beer or Not to Beer?
When it comes to your teeth, is it OK to drink beer? Absolutely, but like all things alcohol, moderation is key. This is true when it comes to wine, cider, hard seltzer, and beyond. What’s also important is that you maintain your oral hygiene at home, and mixing in a glass of water between brews is also a smart move, as this rinses your mouth and removes the sugars found in beer. And, if you start to develop noticeable stains, your dentist can use treatments like KOR and Zoom! teeth whitening to quickly get your smile back to it’s original brightness.
So whether you’re into stouts, IPAs, Double IPAs, or something exotic that is only brewed in a single monastery in Belgium, you can enjoy it with peace of mind. As long as you don’t have too much and take care of your teeth between sessions, you’ll have plenty of reasons to smile the next time you open a can or bottle.
About the Author
Dr. Allan Mohr is a general, implant, and cosmetic dentist on Long Island with more than 30 years of experience. Right now, his practice is only seeing patients for emergencies, but if you have any questions about how to take care of your teeth at home until you can schedule your next checkup, he and his team are more than ready to provide answers. You can contact them here.