Hops Could Fight Tooth Decay

One of the ingredients used to brew beer could possibly be used to do even better things.

The part of hops not used in making beer may have the right properties to thwart gum disease and decay. The study comes from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The research team determined the antioxidants in hops may have just the right stuff to lower the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. The American Chemical Society researchers pinpointed the hop leaves as the part that may be able to be used for this cause. The hop leaves are not used to make beer.

The polyphenols located in the bracts were discovered to prevent harmful bacteria related to gum disease and cavities from sticking to the tooth surface and gumline. As a result, the possibilities of infection and irritation are lowered.

In United States, more than 2,000 tons of hops are harvested and the bracts are thrown away each year. A supply of bracts would not be hard to come by.

The researchers used chromatography to differentiate the compounds in the bracts. There were already 20 compounds known to exist in the bracts but their research found 3 new ones.