Most of us know that eating vegetables is good for our teeth, and it's easy to understand why. Veggies are low in sugar, and the action of chewing the crispy and crunchy ones can physically scrub your teeth. But why is cheese so great at cleaning teeth? Here's a quick rundown (as you'll see, a little bit of cheese can really pack a punch):
- Eating cheese stimulates saliva production, which lowers the mouth's acidity levels, protects teeth from acid and helps clear food particles.
- Lactose, the sugar found in cow's milk, is the least likely type of sugar to cause cavities.
- The fat in cheese reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
- The phosphorus and calcium in cheese prevent the pH levels in the mouth from decreasing and actually work to remineralize tooth enamel.
Of course, cheese can help your teeth anytime you eat it, but research has shown that it's especially beneficial after a meal or a sugary drink. Munching on a few cubes or small slices of cheese might not satisfy your sweet tooth as well as a chunk of chocolate cake would, but think of it as a small sacrifice that, in the long run, might actually save that sweet tooth.
For more information about dental health, check out the links below.
- American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. "Quick Tips for Busy Parents: Your Child and Cheese." (Sept. 7, 2011) http://www.aapd.org/hottopics/news.asp?NEWS_ID=499
- BBC. "Diet and Dental Health." April 2011. (Sept. 7, 2011) http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/treatments/healthy_living/nutrition/dietary_dental.shtml#milk_and_cheese_and_dental_health
- Kam, Katherine. "Preventing Tooth Enamel Erosion." WebMD. July 8, 2010. (Sept. 7, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/tooth-enamel-protection
- Simply Teeth. "Diet and Tooth Decay." (Sept. 8, 2011) http://www.simplyteeth.com/category/sections/adult/caringteethgums/DietDecay.asp?category=adult§ion=4&page=5