Why is cheese seen as being a healthier snack for your teeth?

OK, we know – healthy is a bit of a relative term here! But while too much cheese might not be great for your overall health, it can have some surprising benefits for your teeth. It doesn’t have quite the same irresistible appeal for some of us as chocolate or wine, those powerful benefits can still be enough to make it an excellent alternative to the Christmas treats that tend to start popping up around this time of year. Here are a couple of reasons why.

It can neutralise the acidity in your mouth

Your mouth is a delicate ecosystem, and more complex than you might give it credit for. One core element of that ecosystem is its pH balance; in other words, how acidic it is. The normal pH in your mouth is neutral, skewed towards being slightly acidic. Excessive levels of acid in your mouth can quickly start doing serious damage to your teeth, as they end up stripping away the enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth which guards them against bacteria and everyday wear and tear. 

Lemons, cranberry juice, sweets, coffee and alcohol tend to all contain high levels of acid, which is a big part of why it’s generally best to consume them only in moderation. 

In studies like those conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry back in 2013, volunteers who ate cheese were found to experience a significant decrease in the level of acidity in their mouths (unlike those who consumed other dairy products like yoghurt or milk), ultimately helping to protect their teeth. 

Now here’s the interesting thing – it’s not that cheese is just a less damaging alternative for your teeth. In fact, it’s actively good for them. The exact science behind it is still being researched, but the general consensus is that cheese actively neutralises the acid already present in your mouth, and does this by mobilising the body’s own defences. Namely, it’s probably the act of chewing cheese that produces saliva, which is pH neutral. That increase saliva neutralises the acids in our mouth, helping to protect our teeth.  

It contains a variety of useful vitamins and minerals

In terms of the vitamins and minerals that cheese provides, the most famous is probably calcium. Just 100g of whole milk mozzarella contains 500g of calcium – which is already half the recommended daily requirement. The human body requires a regular intake of calcium – without it, your body will start using the calcium stored in your bones and teeth. That means keeping your calcium levels high will help keep your teeth at optimum health. Cheese is also high in phosphorus and Vitamin D, and they’re both actively good for you because they help your body to properly absorb calcium. (Phosphorus provides even further benefits to your teeth by protecting and rebuilding your tooth enamel.)

Like other dairy products, cheese also contains casein, a protein found in milk and other dairy products. This is capable of forming a film over your teeth, which protects your enamel from sugar and decay. 

Of course, you can have too much of a good thing, and just because it’s good for your teeth doesn’t make it a cure-all – it’s quite high in saturated fat, for example, and thereby can increase your risk of heart disease. But considering all the benefits it provides for your teeth, it’s no wonder that so many people recommend a small cube of it after every meal – it can reset the acidity levels in your mouth, helping to minimise the damage from sweet treats (so you get the best of both worlds). As ever, all good things in moderation!

And if you’ve ever got any questions about your teeth, that’s where our experts can help at AP Smilecare! We aim to provide you with a personalised and comprehensive plan that outlines all of your treatment options and costs so that you can make an informed decision about the perfect smile solution. We’re committed to delivering top-notch dental care that will leave you smiling from ear to ear!

If you’re interested in learning more about any of our teeth-enhancing treatments, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team. We’ll be more than happy to help you figure out what’s best for you and your smile in a relaxed and comfortable environment you can trust. If you have any questions regarding our treatments or want to book an appointment – get in touch with our friendly team via 01254 297 000 or pop into our Blackburn clinic, and we’ll be more than happy to help you start your smile journey!