The consumption of dairy products on a regular basis is essential for excellent oral health – and even bone health. However, there is only little research on how dairy helps dental health. But a 2013 study finds that cheese and other dairy products can help the teeth fight cavities.
The study looked at a sample of 68 participants, whose ages ranged between 12 and 15. The researchers examined and identified the pH of the dental plaque in the participants’ mouths before and after they were asked to consume dairy products such as milk, cheese or sugar-free yogurt. If the pH level is lower than 5.5, then the participant is at a risk for dental erosion – a process that will wear off the enamel (the protective layer) of the teeth. The higher the pH level (above 5.5), then there is a lower chance of developing cavities.
The participants were divided into groups. The first group was asked to eat cheddar cheese. The second group was asked to drink milk. The third group was to eat sugar-free yogurt. Each group had three minutes to consume the products and then drank water. The researchers then measured the pH levels of their mouths after 10, 20 and 30 minutes of consumption.
The results show that sugar-free yogurt and milk had no effect on the participants’ pH levels. However, those who ate cheese had a rapid increase in pH levels every interval – which could strongly suggest that cheese contains cavity fighting properties.
The study shows that the reason why cheese was able to increase the pH levels is that the chewing process stimulated the production of saliva – which is the body’s natural means to help level the acidity in the mouth. Furthermore, it is possible that some compounds found in cheese can stick to the enamel of the tooth and help protect the teeth from acid.
Vitamins and Minerals Essential for Dental Health
Apart from consuming dairy, the following vitamins and minerals are also known to be good not only for your mouth, but the entire body as well.
- Calcium. The bones, teeth and jaws are primarily made of calcium. The lack of calcium in your diet puts you at risk for developing tooth decay and gum disease. Calcium can be found in several foods and drinks, which include dairy (milk, cheese, and yogurt), oysters and even beans.
- Iron. Having a deficiency in iron could result in the tongue being inflamed, and result in the formation of sores inside the mouth. Red meat, liver, nuts and spices are the common sources of iron.
- Vitamin B3. The lack of this vitamin can result in canker sores along with bad breath. To help increase your Vitamin B3 levels, have plenty of servings of chicken and fish.
- Vitamins B2 and B12. These two vitamins can also end up causing canker sores, if lacking. Red meat, fish, pork, chicken, liver and dairy products are excellent sources of these vitamins.
If you are looking for a professional dental treatment to help improve and whip your oral health back to tip-top shape, contact Greenspoint Dental today to schedule your appointment.