Does Eating Cheese Prevent Cavities?

Does Cheese Prevent Cavities

Unfortunately, that terrible word that haunted your childhood never really leaves you: A cavity. Generally one of the most inconvenient and annoying pains there is, toothaches are a threat that looms over everyone’s lives from childhood to adulthood. As a kid we were always told, “You have to brush twice a day!”, “Don’t forget to floss!”, “Hey, stay away from the candy!” but, since we were kids, these weren’t commands any of us were too keen on listening too. Cavities are a menace that threatens our braces-straightened teeth even as adults, and we are always looking for more ways to prevent them.

Well, recent research may be providing us an extra helping hand: Cheese. Yes, after all this time, that savory snack could finally be confirmed as, not only delicious, but beneficial to our wellbeing as well. We could have ourselves a new cavity fighter.

But first, what is a cavity?

Cavities are the result of a tooth decaying or breaking down due to plaque. Plaque is that sticky film that builds up on your teeth, causing them to over time feel bumpy and rough. It contains millions of bacteria that, when left there too long, eat away at the enamel of your teeth. The tooth enamel is that white shell on the outside of your teeth that is said to be the hardest substance in your body… until it has the acids of millions of tiny microorganism chipping at it. When given enough time, plaque can make its way all the way through the enamel to the inside of your tooth where all the nerve endings are, causing your toothache.

What does cheese do to help?

Researchers recently conducted an experiment testing the effects of cheese, milk, yogurt, and paraffin on teeth. The participants chewed/swished their respective products in their mouth for three minutes. The experiment was tested by checking for the plaque pH (acidity) in the participant’s mouth. It was checked before consumption and at several time increments after the three minutes was up. Although no change was showed in pH in the mouths of those who consumed milk, yogurt, or paraffin, there was a change in the cheese results.

The pH in the cheese participants went up, and continued to do so at each time marker. A pH at 5.5 or lower is considered to be at risk for tooth decay and cavities. The higher the pH is above 5.5 the healthier and safer your tooth enamel is. Since the cheese resulted in rising pH levels, it is seen as combatting the acids that eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities. The researchers believe that eating cheese results in more saliva which is how the body naturally manages its pH levels.

 

They also suspect that cheese releases chemical compounds that form a protective film around teeth, helping to prevent damage to the enamel.

Although this research is the result of only one experiment, the conclusions drawn by the overwhelming differences in test results suggests that cheese does, in fact, help to protect your teeth against cavities. It is likely that these results can be confirmed with more research but, in the meantime, I’m gonna be eating a lot more cheese!

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