Say cheese! In case you’ve got a hankering for nachos, grilled cheese sandwiches or a tall glass of milk, you have a new excuse to indulge: your teeth. While eating dairy products is vital to maintaining optimal overall health, for many years there wasn’t sufficient research to determine the effects of dairy on teeth in particular.
Well, in 2013, a study published in General Dentistry shared the happy news: eating cheese and other dairy products can help protect your teeth against tartar buildup and cavities. In the study, 68 subjects were given cheese, milk or sugar free yogurt. The authors of the study measured dental plaque pH in the subjects mouth before and after consuming the dairy products. The subjects who ate cheese showed rapidly increasing pH levels in their mouths. The higher the pH levels of your mouth, the lower the likelihood of developing cavities.
So why is cheese so magical? Well, aside from being delicious (like we needed to tell you that), cheese might stimulate saliva production, which can help maintain a baseline acidity level. It’s also possible that the compounds within cheese could adhere to tooth enamel and add some protection.
So how can you up the dairy intake in a healthy way? We’ve got some suggestions:
Milk isn’t just the beverage of choice for tots. Adults can also benefit from drinking a glass of skim milk each day. Just make sure you’re not doing it in conjunction with a dozen Oreos!
Yogurt is healthy for many reasons, but can give your teeth some added protection too. Just choose unsweetened yogurts so you’re not sabotaging your teeth with added sugars.
The star of the show is cheese, and it’s easy to find a variety that you love. Cheese in high in fat, but you can still enjoy a small portion each day. Sprinkle cheese on your salad, layer it on a sandwich or melt it onto a grilled chicken breast. Delicious!