Say cheese! Researchers claim eating cheese could help prevent tooth cavities

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

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Researchers claim eating cheese could help prevent tooth cavities
Eating cheese and other dairy products may help to protect teeth against cavities by maintaining baseline acidity levels in the mouth, a team of Indian researchers has discovered.

The researchers – from Kothiwal Dental College & Research Centre and St. Joseph Dental College in India - measured dental plaque pH levels in the mouths of 68 subjects between the ages of 12 and 15 before and after cheese, milk, and sugar-free yogurt were consumed.

The subjects were split into three groups. Group one was instructed to eat cheddar cheese, group two to drink milk, and group three to eat sugar-free yogurt. The products were consumed for three minutes and washed down with water. Each subject’s plaque pH levels were then measured after 10, 20 and 30 minutes.

According to the researchers, none of dairy products involved in the study lowered the plaque pH levels below 5.5. Below 5.5, a person is at risk of tooth erosion - where the protective enamel outer layer of the tooth wears away.

“The pH levels of the milk and yogurt groups approached baseline/neutrality. None of the dairy products in this study lowered the plaque pH below the critical pH of 5.5, where enamel demineralisation and dissolution are expected even at the 10 minute interval," ​said the team’s research paper, In vivo dental plaque pH after consumption of dairy products.

“These findings confirm that cheese, milk, and yogurt without sugar (sucrose) are non-cariogenic and to some extent cariostatic.”

By the 30 minute mark, plaque pH levels in the mouths of those that ate sugar-free yogurt and drank milk had not changed, according to the paper. Levels in the mouths of those that ate cheese, however, shot up.

According to the researchers, this result suggests that cheese has the highest anti-cariogenic property (provides the best protective against tooth erosion) of the three dairy products sampled.

“Among the three dairy products consumed, cheese showed the highest plaque pH 30 minutes after consumption, followed by milk and yogurt,”​ said the document. “This suggests that cheese has the highest anti-cariogenic property amongst these dairy products.”

The study was published in General Dentistry – the peer-reviewed clinical journal published by the Academy of General Dentistry. To view the research document, click HERE.

Related topics: R&D, Cheese

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