How Cheese Can Prevent Cavities
We know that a glass of milk, a cup of yoghurt or a slice of cheese provides us with calcium, which helps us to have strong and healthy bones. But did you know that calcium is also good for your teeth? Calcium helps to make teeth hard and more resistant to the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Although any dairy product contains calcium, a recent study suggests that cheese may have other properties in addition to calcium that help promote healthy teeth and actually prevent cavities.
When bacteria invade our mouth, they feed on the sugars that remain on our teeth from the foods and drinks we consume. The bacteria produces acid as it eats the sugars on our teeth. This acid breaks down tooth enamel, leaving our teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.
We may remember from our high school chemistry class that a ph scale indicates how acidic or alkaline (basic) something is, and that one can offset the other. A low ph level, under 7 is considered acidic, and a higher ph, above 7, indicates basic. (7 is neutral.) A ph less than 5.5 in the mouth puts someone at risk of suffering erosion of tooth enamel.
In a study looking at the ph effects of consuming certain dairy products, it was found that after consuming cheese, the ph level inside the mouth increased rapidly, and continued to increase for at least 30 minutes after consuming the cheese. (Milk and sugar-free yoghurt were also studied, but were not shown to have an effect on ph.) The fact that the cheese reduced acidity in the mouth indicates that cheese may be helpful in the prevention of cavities.
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