Keep Your Child’s Cheesy Grin
Most children love cheese for its taste; parents love cheese for its ability to help promote strong bones. But now it seems that there is another reason to love this calcium-rich snack. Not only are dairy products a healthy alternative to carbohydrate- or sugar-filled food and drink but cheese may also help prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease.
In a study published in the May/June 2013 issue of the peer-reviewed journal General Dentistry, 68 children, ranging in age from 12 to 15 years, consumed cheese, milk or sugar-free yogurt for three minutes and then rinsed their mouths with plain water. Researchers measured pH levels in the children’s mouths at 10-minute intervals for 30 minutes. A lower pH level means the mouth is more acidic, and acid is what causes tooth enamel erosion, a major contributing factor in developing tooth decay. They found that the pH level rose in the children who ate cheddar cheese, which meant they were at a lower risk for cavities. The same study found no changes in pH levels in the mouths of children who drank milk or ate sugar-free yogurt.
The researchers suggested that chewing cheese increased saliva levels, which can help maintain a higher pH level. In addition, compounds called pyrophosphates found in cheese may stick to tooth surfaces, helping to protect teeth from the harmful effects of acid.
Although yogurt didn’t affect the pH levels in that study, ounce-for-ounce it contains more calcium than milk: An eight-ounce glass of milk contains about 300 mg of calcium while eight ounces of yogurt contains almost 400 mg of the tooth-building mineral. And yogurt contains phosphorous, which helps restore tooth enamel. If your child loves yogurt but you don’t like the sugar substitutes used in sugar-free varieties, try sweetening it with honey, which possesses additional antibacterial properties that can help keep away tooth decay.
Nutritional foods are vital for both your child’s general health and oral health. Talk to us about making good food choices at your child’s next office visit to KiDDS Dental.
Give us a call at 509-891-7070 to schedule today!