With March already more than half way over many people here in Nashville, TN are ready for the weather to warm up and spring to begin. However, Drs. Elam, Vaughan, Fleming and the rest of their staff at Dentistry of Nashville are also excited about something else March always brings along with it – St. Patrick’s day.
Now, you might be wondering why a dentist’s office even cares about a holiday dedicated to celebrating Irish traditions by wearing green and beer. We get asked this same question often by many of our patients and their faces are always priceless when we give them our answer. It actually has to do with the beer.
Yes, you read that right. We said beer. Let us explain.
A Very Hoppy St. Patrick’s Day
To understand why beer plays into our appreciation of beer and St. Patrick’s day we have to first take you on a quick trip back in time. Hundreds of years ago, trade became a booming business once trade routes were established between continents. Many things were traded over sea by merchants and one popular item was alcohol. However, during this period of time there was no refrigeration. Alternative ways to preserve perishable food had to be found. For instance, sugar and salt were often used to preserve items like fruit and meat.
However, one item was still spoiling over long sea voyages and that item was beer. Batches of beer would turn by the time they reached the shores of their intended destinations, costing various merchants a great deal in lost merchandise. It wasn’t long before brewers took to the drawing board and starting tweaking the recipe for beer. History isn’t sure who hit the nail on the head, but eventually, it was discovered that beer made with more hops was capable of making long journeys and remaining fresh. This discovery altered the taste of beer, but because of it, beer now has the taste you know and love it for today.
Of course, as time went on and science evolved several people in the scientific community found themselves asking this same question. How did the addition of extra hops in beer recipes make it possible for the sudsy beverage to make it across the ocean?
Several studies later researchers arrived at their answer. It turns out that hops have some amazing antimicrobial properties. By adding more to beer recipes it kept the formation of bacteria at bay and prevented the beer from spoiling prematurely.
What’s This Have to Do with My Teeth?
Now, here’s the cool part is how all this ties into dentistry. Because of the antimicrobial properties of hops, believe it or not, having the occasional beer can actually be a boon to your teeth. The hops in each sip of beer can help to keep the production of bacteria in your mouth. How cool is that?
Of course, all this is meant to be taken with a grain of salt and in moderation. Consuming any kind of alcoholic beverage too frequently can have devastating effects on not only your oral health but your overall health as well.
Until next time readers, raise a glass to the Irish and the continued health of your smile tomorrow, and keep smiling.