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Franklyn Alexander, DDS
General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Patients Choice Winner 2016

Cheese protects teeth from cavities

Milk gets all the credit for building strong teeth, but cheese is actually more effective when it comes to preventing cavities. It is rich in calcium just like milk, but it also contains other components that work to keep teeth strong and healthy.

Increasing pH levels

The pH level of the mouth is indicative of the risk for erosion. Low pH signifies an increase in acidity, which contributes to damage to the enamel and the formation of cavities. A higher pH means a less acidic environment and a lower chance of harm.

Participants in one study who consumed cheese showed a rise in oral pH levels. Those who consumed milk or yogurt showed no change in pH. Researchers in the study suggest that cheese stimulates saliva production, which washes away acids to produce a higher pH.

Providing strength and protection

Cheese also contains plenty of calcium, which adheres to the surface of teeth to fend off acids. Hard cheeses like cheddar contain more than soft varieties like feta. In addition to keeping acids from sticking to teeth, the compounds in cheese keep stains away. That means if you’re going to have a glass of red wine, it really is appropriate to pair it with some cheese. Not only will it make your teeth slightly more stain resistant, it will also neutralize the acids in the wine.

Casein phosphate is another powerful component of cheese. On top of keeping teeth strong, this compound protects enamel to keep it from eroding- a first step in the formation of cavities.

Put it into practice

The best part about these findings is the amount of cheese necessary to reap the benefits. Scientists say you only need about one-third of a slice of cheese. If you’re trying to cut down on the amount of dairy or fat you consume, rest assured that such a small serving of cheese can easily fit into your dietary plans. Try to take a few bites of the cheese while you’re eating and then finish the meal with it for maximum benefits. Add it to sandwiches and salads and pair it with your snacks to cut back on your risk of experiencing tooth decay.