In an article appearing in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, it was found that eating cheese and other diary products may be beneficial in protecting teeth against cavities.
The study sampled 68 subjects between the ages of 12 and 15 and looked at their dental plaque pH in their mouth before and after eating cheese, yogurt, and milk. In fact, three different groups were used one that eat cheddar cheese another that drink milk and another that eat sugar free yogurt. Each group was told to eat/drink for around 3 minutes and then swish their mouth with water. Then the researchers measured the pH level of each subject’s mouth at 10, 20 and 30 minutes after they finished eating/drinking.
The researchers found that the groups who drank milk and ate yogurt had no changes in pH levels in their mouth. However, those who ate cheese showed a rapid increase in pH levels which was present for all 3 intervals looked at. This suggests that cheese has anti-cavity properties because a higher pH level puts a person at a less chance of developing cavities.
The researchers are not entirely sure what caused the rise in pH levels from eating cheese. It could be that increased saliva production incurred which could have been caused by the action of chewing. It is also possible that certain compounds in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel and help protect teeth from acid.
In a previous post Healthy Gums by Cheese, Yogurt, and Milk I discussed how cheese can also help improve periodontal health and prevent gum disease.