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The Hops Used in Beer Found to be Hiding Dental Hygiene Benefits

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Beer from tapApparently, extracts from the hop leaves prevented bacteria from sticking to tooth surfaces and stopped the release of some bacterial toxins. The researchers used a technique called chromatography to identify a number of health-supporting compounds the hops were previously unknown to possess.

"Yoshihisa Tanaka and colleagues note that their earlier research found that antioxidant polyphenols, contained in the hop leaves (called bracts) could help fight cavities and gum disease. Extracts from bracts stopped the bacteria responsible for these dental conditions from being able to stick to surfaces and prevented the release of some bacterial toxins."

Now before you do a keg-stand in the name of dental hygiene, it should be noted that the source of the cavity-fighting power lies in the unused portion of the hops, called bracts. So while you can?t swap your fluoride mouthwash for some Colt 45, every year, farmers harvest about 30,000 tons of hops in the United States, but the bracts are not used for making beer and are discarded. Thus, there is potentially a large amount of bracts that could be repurposed for dental applications, but very few of the potentially hundreds of compounds in the bracts have been reported.

All I?m saying is, beer toothpaste. Get on it, scientists!

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