Halloween can be a sugar deluge, bringing dentists out of the woodwork shaking toothbrushes at children (and compelling certain parents to pass out toothbrushes instead of candy to trick-or-treaters). Now that Halloween has been successfully navigated, our dental health is once again top of mind. (I also share a simple meal plan of basic, nutritious food that can help your children’s bodies get well nourished after a storm of sweets too!)
But could helping our teeth be as simple as eating cheese? Well, one study showed that cheese could be helpful in preventing tooth decay! In the May/June issue of General Dentistry (a peer-reviewed clinical journal), a study linked cheese products specifically to a better mouth pH.
Researchers have found that pH levels are related to the erosion of teeth enamel. With that in mind, they wanted to test what affect certain dairy products had. They used three: milk, sugar-free yogurt and cheese. After 68 subjects between the ages of 12-15 consumed one of these products for three minutes, their mouth pH was tested at 10, 20 and then 30 minutes.
The groups that ate the yogurt and milk showed no difference in their pH levels. However, the group that ate cheese showed a rapid increase in pH each time. The higher the pH is over 5.5, the better for preventing enamel erosion, so that increase in pH could be helpful in keeping our teeth cavity-free.
Why does it help? It seems that it helps increase saliva production, which has a beneficial relationship to acidity levels. Plus, certain compounds in cheese may actually adhere to teeth, protecting it from acid.
So if your kids (or even you) consumed too much sugar on this candy-centric holiday, just eat some cheese! It may do your teeth some good (and give your body some protein to help handle all that sugar!).
Related posts on MNN:
- 8 surprising sources of refined sugar
- Your guide to sugar and sugar substitutes
- What is the alkaline diet?