A new article published in the May/June issue of General Dentistry has suggested that eating cheese may prevent cavities! Just like it is good for your bones, eating cheese may prevent us from needing dental work?! Sounds great, but what does it really mean?
This article really reinforces a lot of what we know about pH affecting oral health. pH is a measure of how much acidity is in a food or drink. It is a scale from 1-14 with 1 being the lowest (battery acid) and 14 being the highest. In reality, we like to keep the pH of our mouth the highest it can be to prevent eroding the tooth away (can you imagine what battery acid would do?).
In this article cheese performed better than milk at keeping the pH high! Though milk is still one of the best drinks for our teeth, cheese does a few things that milk does not. Because you have to chew cheese, your body produces saliva to help digest. This increases the pH of the mouth. It also showed that some compounds in the cheese stuck to the teeth, protecting them from acid as well.
While it is a promising article, we need to keep in mind that no matter the food or drink, except water, there is bacteria that we should not leave sitting on the tooth surface for long periods. Continue to brush and floss as normal, but if you need a snack, it is good knowing what is better for your teeth!