Cheese Is A Superstar When It Comes to Dental Health
If you add cheese to your sandwiches or burgers, you’re doing your teeth a huge favor. Turns out, the chemical makeup of cheese can protect your teeth from cavities and the harmful effects of acid erosion. Isn’t it great to know that eating tasty food can keep your teeth in good shape?
How cheese works to protect teeth
This news comes from a study published by the Academy of General Dentistry. The study looked at the effects of milk, yogurt, and cheese on the pH level of plaque in the mouth. Cheese turned out to have the greatest effect on pH levels by raising them just enough to deter the effects of acid erosion. Milk and yogurt were found to not cause cavities, but cheese was the only one found to actually prevent them.
There are two properties specific to cheese that may contribute to these effects. First, cheese stimulates production of saliva. Saliva is the tool your body uses to wash away food particles, strengthen your teeth by providing them with essential minerals, and protect your mouth from cavity-causing bacteria.
The second property of cheese that benefits oral health is the casein phosphate it contains. Previous studies have shown that casein phosphate works to strengthen teeth and prevent enamel from eroding.
Cheese also provides the same benefits as other dairy products like milk and yogurt by supplying essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous.
A little goes a long way
How much cheese do you need to eat to see these benefits? The amount is surprisingly small. Just eat 1/3 of an ounce, or the equivalent of about a third of a slice of cheese. The most effective method eating it is to take bites throughout the meal and make it the last thing you eat as well. Pairing cheese and wine can be especially helpful, as wine is acidic by nature. The cheese will help neutralize the acidic effects of the wine.
You should also look to dairy products as a substitute for snacks that are high in carbs or refined sugars. Even though milk and yogurt weren’t shown to prevent cavities in the study, they are still better for your teeth than many other foods. Instead of a sugary soft drink, have a glass of milk instead. Have a craving for something sweet? Yogurt mixed with fresh berries can satisfy it while providing minerals for oral health.
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