Could Beer Extracts Help Prevent Cavities, Gum-Disease

First Posted: Mar 06, 2014 01:59 AM EST

It might seem strange, but a recent study suggests that an ingredient found in beer could potentially help prevent cavities and gum disease.

In fact, scientists note that what's commonly found in hop leaves may contain healthy antioxidants that could also be used to fight tooth decay. However, researchers said they believe that part of the hops are discarded in beer brewing and not even used for making beer.

According to lead study author Yoshihisa Tanaka, she found that the antioxidant polyphenols contained the hop leaves (also known as bracts) that could potentially prevent cavities and gum disease that can cause harmful bacteria and release toxins in the mouth.

The study suggests that bracts could be repurposed for dental health. Though farmers have harvested close to 2,300 tons of hops in the United States every year, relatively little research has been done to determine the benefits of the antioxidant that's found in beer.

Yet a laboratory technique known as chromatography helped researchers identify three new compounds, including one already-known compound that's identified for the first time plants and 20 already-known compounds that were indentified in the hops for the first time.

A significant amount of antioxidants known as proanthocyanidins in bracts were also found, according to background information from the study.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

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