Fight Cavities with…Cheese?

Fight Cavities with...Cheese?

It turns out whoever made up the photo-taking exclamation “Cheese!” knew what they were talking about. That’s because cheese, according to a recent study by the Academy of General Dentistry, can actually improve your smile by making your teeth healthier. This might not be surprising to a lot of people who would assume it’s the tooth-strengthening calcium in cheese we’re talking about, but while the calcium is indeed important, the AGD study, published in the journal General Dentistry, found that cheese also helps prevent tooth decay.

Apparently, eating cheese increases the alkaline level in your mouth, which in turn counters any acids (such as those from sodas) on your teeth that can eat away at the enamel and lead to cavities. The researchers think that the alkaline increase is caused by an increase in saliva in the mouth, which is the body’s way of maintaining a healthy pH level.

If that wasn’t enough, the study also found that cheese releases chemical compounds that form a layer of film around the teeth that protects it from erosion; the higher the pH level (the more alkaline) on the surface of the teeth, the greater the protection against decay.

The study focused not just on cheese, but on a variety of dairy products. It involved 68 children aged 12 to 15 who were divided into three groups, each eating a different type of dairy food on a daily basis. One group ate cheddar cheese, another ate sugar-free yogurt and the third drank a glass of milk. The yogurt and milk groups had no measurable difference in pH after consuming their food/drink, but the cheese group experienced a spike in pH.” Based on the testing, researchers concluded that while milk and yogurt are non-cavity forming, cheese is actively anti-cavity in nature.

(Sources: The Daily Mail, Academy of General Dentistry)