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It is commonly known that dairy does a body good. Nutrients found in dairy products are necessary for overall health, and are especially important when it comes to bone strength. But what exactly does dairy do for your teeth? A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of General Dentistry gives some insight on the particulars.

In this study, the dental plaque pH of 68 subjects was tested before and after they consumed various dairy products. A pH level lower than a 5.5 signifies that a person is at risk of tooth erosion. Thus, the higher the pH is above 5.5, the less likely an individual is to get cavities.

The subjects were divided into three groups, each of which consumed a different dairy product: group one was instructed to eat cheddar cheese, group two to drink milk, and group three to have sugar-free yogurt. Measurements of pH levels were tested 10, 20, and 30 minutes after consumption.

Individuals in group two and three showed little to no change in their pH samples. Those that sampled cheese, however, showed a rapid increase in pH level at each time interval that was tested. Experts say that this suggests that cheese could play a key role in preventing cavities.

But why was the cheese more effective than milk or yogurt? Some attribute this difference to the increased cheeseproduction of saliva that is caused by the action of chewing the cheese. Because saliva is the body’s natural way of balancing the pH in the mouth, it is logical that this would cause the pH to increase. In addition, it has been speculated that as compounds from the cheese adhere to the tooth enamel, they act as a protective layer against acids.

All dairy products are great for your oral health. They strengthen bone tissue and are a fabulous alternative to snacks and drinks with high sugar content. And now, the consumption of dairy products may be seen as a preventative measure against cavities. So next time you’re rummaging through the refrigerator, give cheese a try. Your teeth may thank you later!