Most people who visit Leeds City Dentalcare are well aware of the need to eat dairy products for strong bones, and that this food group is a vital for overall health. However until now there’s been very little research into how dairy products could affect dental health. A new study that was recently published has shown that consuming dairy products such as cheese could help protect teeth against cavities.
The study focused on children aged between 12 and 15 and assessed the pH levels of their dental plaque before and after they had consumed dairy products. The higher the pH level in the mouth the less chance there is of acid erosion, something that can increase the risk of dental cavities. In general a pH level below 5.5 could indicate a risk for dental erosion. In this study the participants were told to drink milk, or to eat sugar-free yogurt, or cheese, and it was found that those who had milk or sugar-free yogurt didn’t see any significant change in the pH level in their mouth. In comparison the group assigned cheddar cheese showed a significant increase in pH levels, something that seems to suggest that eating cheese could be far more beneficial for helping to prevent cavities.
It’s thought this increase in pH levels after eating cheese could be due to increased saliva production due to the action of chewing the cheese. In addition cheese is more likely to stick to the tooth enamel, and could act as a buffer protecting the teeth from acid. The tradition of finishing up a meal with cheese is looking like an increasingly sensible option for dental health.
Tooth decay is caused by the action of acid released by bacteria in the sticky layer of dental plaque that adheres to the teeth and gums. An increase in acidity can damage the tooth enamel as it causes certain vital minerals such as calcium and phosphorus to be leached out of the softened enamel, increasing the risk of decay. These bacteria produce acid in response to certain sugary or carbohydrate rich foods that provide them with a source of energy.
What Makes Cheese Good for Oral Health?
Cheese contains certain components including calcium, protein and phosphorus. It’s thought its protective effects on teeth may arise from its ability to stimulate the flow of saliva which in turn inhibits the production and action of plaque bacteria. Calcium and inorganic phosphate help to reduce the effects of demineralisation on the tooth enamel and help to enhance the effects of re-mineralisation. Apparently some cheeses are better than others for helping to protect teeth, in particular aged cheddar, mozzarella and Swiss cheese.
Although cheese may be good for oral hygiene, it’s always the question of everything in moderation, and eating a balanced diet is very important. While eating a small piece of cheese at the end of the meal might be good news for your teeth, it wouldn’t be terribly healthy to eat too much as cheese is renowned for being high in fat.
Already Have Acid Erosion? Leeds City Dentalcare Can Help
If your teeth already show signs of acid erosion and there are various things you can do to help halt the damage in its tracks. Dr David Brown or any of our dentist in Leeds at our dental practice likely to recommend you use good quality fluoride toothpaste, and that you spit out the excess rather than rinse once you finish brushing. The reason for this is that it allows the fluoride to continue providing a protective effect for your tooth enamel, and fluoride toothpaste is an excellent delivery system for this important element as it will actually stick to your teeth. You may also want to use a fluoride mouthwash, but it can pay to wait half an hour or so after brushing before using this mouthwash as this will allow you to gain maximum benefit from the toothpaste.