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Dairy product “offers dental benefits”

Cheese consumption has a positive effect on dental health, new research has indicated.

A study revealed in the Spring issue of General Dentistry that eating cheese could prevent the appearance of cavities.

The 68 participants between the ages of 12 and 15 were found to have significantly less oral acidity after eating cheese opposed to other dairy products. Progress was charted at ten, 20 and 30 minutes after eating with excellent results.

Dr Jeffrey Cole, president of the Academy of General Dentistry, told CBS News that cheese contains phosphates commonly found in fluorides and toothpaste. This works to re-mineralise a tooth that has been surrounded by acid and provides a strong preventative barrier against acid.

He went onto say that this was an exciting development for the dental industry and could prevent rising levels of gum disease.

The research showed that cheese increased pH levels within the mouth which puts the patient at smaller risk of tooth enamel erosion. Lead author of the study Vipul Yadav said: “The higher the pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chance of developing cavities.”

Drinking milk and eating sugar-free yoghurt did not offer the same benefits, with participants experiencing no change in pH levels after consumption.

Eating cheese also increases saliva production which acts to flush out excess acid in the mouth.

Seung-Hee Rhee, spokesperson at the Academy of General Dentistry, said: “Not only are dairy products a healthy alternative to carb- or sugar-filled snacks, they also may be considered as a preventive measure against cavities.”

However some health experts may warn about the links between cheese, obesity and high blood pressure. Some full-fat cheeses contain high quantities of sodium. Dental professionals would do well to promote its positive side and advise patients to eat the product in moderation.

Fortunately, low-fat cheeses offer the same oral benefits. Dentists may be asking patients to swap their ice-cream desserts for a cheese board this summer.

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