Cheese is Good for Your Teeth
~ January 2004 No.175 ~
From an early age, we are encouraged to drink our milk. To the inevitable question “why” comes the response “it’s good for you because it builds strong bones and teeth.” The same holds true for the other members of the milk family - yogurt, kefir and cheese. Milk and milk products are also good sources of protein, and so most nutrition programs suggest several portions of milk or milk products per day, more for young, growing children or pregnant or breast feeding mothers.
All products that are derived from milk are good sources of calcium which is an essential nutrient for the development of bones and teeth. Eating cheese results in a coating of calcium on the teeth that helps protect against caries. Eating a cube of cheese can increase plaque-calcium concentration by up to 112%, helping to harden teeth and discourage softening which leads to caries. It appears that cheese also prevents demineralization and, at the same time, encourages remineralization of the tooth. This is true whether the cheese is eaten raw or has been cooked.
But it turns out that eating cheese may be good for your teeth in several ways. Eating cheese may help reduce the incidence of cavities. When food is eaten, the pH often drops - the mouth becomes more acidic. Teeth are very sensitive to acid and it appears that eating cheese helps maintain a pH level in the mouth that is safe for teeth. Under experimental conditions, it was shown that the pH drop following consumption of a 10% sugar solution was 4.26, but when the sugar solution was eaten after cheese, the pH dropped to only 6.48.
Aged cheddar, Swiss, blue, Monterey Jack, brie, Gouda, and processed American cheese all have been shown to reduce dental caries.
- Cheese Facts
- cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese in the United States of America
- cheese should be stored at or below 4 deg. Celsius
- hard cheeses have a longer shelf live than soft cheeses
- processed cheese is produced by blending one or more natural cheeses, heating and adding emulsifying salts
- many cheeses contain little or no lactose and can be eaten by people who are lactose intolerant. Aged cheeses tend to have less lactose than young cheeses
Effects of processed cheese on human plaque pH and demineralization and remineralization.
Am J Dent 1990,3:217-23