The positive effects that dairy products have on bone health have been well known but very little attention has been given to how dairy products affect oral health. A recent study published in the May/ June 2013 issue of General Dentistry investigated the effect of cheese and dairy products on oral health and found that they may actually lower the risk of forming cavities.
This study was led by Vipul Yadav, MDS and involved 68 subjects between the ages of 12 and 15. The researchers tested the dental plaque pH level in each of the subjects’ mouths and then separated them into three groups. The first group was instructed to eat cheddar cheese, the second group drank milk, and the third group ate sugar free yogurt. Each participant spent three minutes consuming their product and then swished with water. The dental plaque pH level of each participant was measured at 10, 20, and 30 minutes after consumption.
The dental plaque pH level is a good medium to measure the risk of cavities as a pH level lower than 5.5 increases the risk of tooth erosion and leaves the mouth more vulnerable to cavities. As Yadav explains, “The higher the pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chance of developing cavities.”
The results of the measurements showed that those who consumed milk and sugar free yogurt experienced no changes in pH level while those who consumed cheese experienced an increase in pH levels at each time interval. The increasing pH levels from eating cheese may be a result of increased saliva production from the act of chewing. Certain compounds found in the cheese can also further protect teeth from cavities by adhering to the enamel. As the results of the study indicate, dairy products can help reduce the risk of cavities with cheese especially exhibiting anti-cavity properties.
“It looks like dairy does the mouth good,” concludes Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Seung-Hee Rhee, DDS, FAGD. Dairy alone can’t keep your mouth healthy however. Regular visits to the dentist will make sure your mouth is in good health and make your cheesy smile sparkle.
Academy of General Dentistry. “Cheese And Dairy Products May Prevent Cavities.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 7 Jun. 2013. Web.
7 Jun. 2013. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/261550.php