There has long been a belief that beer can be bad for your teeth, often cited as an old wives’ tale or a general cautionary warning we should all be wary of. As a result, many people dismiss the idea of there being a correlation between there being a detrimental impact for teeth when consuming beer, believing it to be good old fashioned nonsense expressed as scientific fact.
Well, if you’re a big beer drinker, then there’s some potentially bad news coming your way– and we don’t just mean in the terms of alcohol content. There is solid scientific reasoning behind the idea that beer is bad for your teeth, and it’s all to do with the PH level of the mouth. Your teeth are made of enamel, which while a strong substance is not impermeable.
One of tooth enamel’s biggest weaknesses is acids. The natural environment of your mouth tips toward alkaline on the acid/alkaline scale. The ideal PH number for the mouth is around 5.5 or preferably even slightly higher, as numerous studies have shown any foods or liquids beneath 5.5 on the scale can begin to have a severe impact. This can lead to damage to tooth enamel, a process called demineralisation which is generally believed to be incurable and irreversable.
Where does beer come in to this? Beer is more acidic than it is alkaline, and the darker the beer the worse the situation becomes. Lighter beers and lagers will be more about the 4.5 to 5.5 on the scale, meaning they have a detrimental impact but there are worse options. For example, a cola or soda will generally have a PH of around 3, so in those circumstances beer is a preferable option oddly enough! If you are concerned about the process of demineralisation, then it may be wise to ensure you only drink lighter beers that will naturally have a PH closer to what the mouth prefers.
For everyone else who has no specific concerns, the trick is likely the same as it is for everything in life: drink in moderation. Most beer drinkers drinking a reasonable amount on a semi-regular basis will not see any damage to their teeth from their choice of beverage, but drink too much and too often and it could start to become an issue. If in doubt, just a toothpaste designed to prevent demineralisation. Some sensible planning will do a lot more than any drastic action to ensure the health of your teeth.