Beer and Your Oral Health
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, many of us will raise a glass to Ireland’s patron saint with a chilled mug (or two) or beer. Before holding up a glass, there are a few things you should know about this fermented favorite when it comes to your oral health.
Beer is an acidic beverage packed with sugar. It’s no secret that refined sugars destroy tooth enamel, which is not replenish-able by the body.
It is also important to note that any time you eat or drink your mouth becomes more acidic. It’s not so much the build-up of food particles that impacts your oral health, but the bacteria it attracts. This kind of enamel destroying bacteria thrives in acidic environments. Once our food or drink is consumed, saliva helps neutralize the acids in our mouths and returns it to a more basic state. So, beer’s added acidity can potentially increase damage to tooth enamel.
Other oral health risks to consider when consuming beer are its ability to stain teeth and cause dry mouth. Ingredients like barley and malt that make beer, well, beer, are known to be stain causing substances.
Beer, like other alcoholic drinks, can cause dry mouth. Saliva’s ability to neutralize the acidity of the mouth and wash away any leftover food particles or plaque is diminished when the mouth is dry. So after you finish a beer, alternate with glass of water to re-hydrate.
If you’re in the celebratory mood today, just remember to consume in moderation, and when finished to properly care for your teeth by brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing also for two minutes.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!