New research shows cheese may prevent cavities

June 5, 2013, Academy of General Dentistry

Consuming dairy products is vital to maintaining good overall health, and it's especially important to bone health. But there has been little research about how dairy products affect oral health in particular. However, according to a new study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), consuming cheese and other dairy products may help protect teeth against cavities.

The study sampled 68 subjects ranging in age from 12 to 15, and the authors looked at the pH in the subjects' mouths before and after they consumed cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for , which is a process that wears away the enamel (or protective outside layer) of teeth. "The higher the pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chance of developing cavities," explains Vipul Yadav, MDS, lead author of the study.

The subjects were assigned into groups randomly. Researchers instructed the first group to eat cheddar cheese, the second group to drink milk, and the third group to eat sugar-free yogurt. Each group consumed their product for three minutes and then swished with water. Researchers measured the pH level of each subject's mouth at 10, 20, and 30 minutes after consumption.

The groups who consumed milk and sugar-free yogurt experienced no changes in the pH levels in their mouths. Subjects who ate cheese, however, showed a rapid increase in pH levels at each , suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.

The study indicated that the rising from eating cheese may have occurred due to increased saliva production (the mouth's natural way to maintain a baseline acidity level), which could be caused by the action of chewing. Additionally, various compounds found in cheese may adhere to and help further protect teeth from acid.

"It looks like dairy does the mouth good," says AGD spokesperson Seung-Hee Rhee, DDS, FAGD. "Not only are dairy products a healthy alternative to carb- or sugar-filled snacks, they also may be considered as a preventive measure against cavities."

Explore further: Soda and illegal drugs cause similar damage to teeth

Related Stories

Soda and illegal drugs cause similar damage to teeth

May 28, 2013
Addicted to soda? You may be shocked to learn that drinking large quantities of your favorite carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use. The consumption of illegal drugs and ...

New study sheds light on link between dairy intake and bone health

February 1, 2013
A study by researchers at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School (HMS), has found that dairy intake —specifically milk and yogurt —is associated with higher ...

Sports and energy drinks responsible for irreversible damage to teeth

May 1, 2012
A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, ...

Eating more dairy linked to $2 billion in healthcare savings

December 8, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- At least two billion dollars could be slashed from the annual healthcare budget if Australians increased their dairy intake, according to a new study.

Scientists study how to reduce salt, but not flavor, in cheese

December 24, 2012
From soup to nuts, supermarket shelves teem with products trumpeting their reduced-salt status. Not in the cheese cooler, though.

Recommended for you

Painless dental lasers can render teeth cavity-resistant

November 21, 2017
Almost as soon as lasers were invented in the 1960s, curious dentists wondered if these powerful forms of light could be used on teeth, though those early lasers were much too crude for any useful dental work.

Nanodiamonds show promise for aiding recovery from root canal

October 23, 2017
People who undergo root canals may soon have a tiny but powerful ally that could prevent infection after treatment.

Research shows aspirin could repair tooth decay

September 8, 2017
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay resulting in a reduction in the need for fillings. Currently about 7 million fillings are provided by the NHS ...

New dental imaging method uses squid ink to fish for gum disease

September 7, 2017
Squid ink might be a great ingredient to make black pasta, but it could also one day make getting checked for gum disease at the dentist less tedious and even painless. By combining squid ink with light and ultrasound, a ...

A new dental restoration composite proves more durable than the conventional material

August 21, 2017
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

Small molecule inhibitor prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model

August 10, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have created a small molecule that prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model. The inhibitor blocks the function of a key virulence enzyme in an oral bacterium, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.