Cheese does more than just taste good. According to a new study published in the May/June issue of General Dentistry, it also may help keep smiles healthy.
According to CBS News, the study shows that eating cheese increases dental plaque pH, decreasing the odds of developing cavities.
"What I think is exciting about this is it shows that cheese -- particularly as a snack -- can reduce the acids that will cause cavities and gum disease," Dr. Jeffrey M. Cole, president of the Academy of General Dentistry, told CBS News.
To complete the study, research looked at 68 patients between the ages of 12 and 15. Dentists measured their dental plaque pH before and after they ate dairy.
The results showed that cheese has the upper hand compared to its dairy counterparts. Patients who ate milk and sugar-free yogurt showed no pH changes, but those who ate cheese had an increase of pH as time progressed.
Why does it help? Researchers point that cheese stimulates saliva production, which flushes out residue left in the mouth and acts as a buffer against high levels of acidity. Cheese also contains pyrophosphates that can re-mineralize a tooth surrounded by acid. Read more here.
This isn’t the first cheese and dairy have been found to have promising dental benefits. Last year, a Japanese study found that babies born to women who consume cheese and other dairy products during pregnancy are likely to have better dental health than babies born to non-dairy-consumers. Another 2012 study suggested that soy milk, a popular alternative to cow’s milk, may have a higher potential to cause cavities than conventional milk.