The relationship between diet and dental health has been a topic of interest for many years. What we choose to eat or drink has a direct effect on our teeth. By consuming snacks or drinks containing sugar we feed the bacteria that live in our mouth and stick to our teeth in a thin ‘film’ called dental plaque. The bacteria turn sugars into acids which break down the tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. By consuming acidic drinks such as orange juice, smoothies, wine and fizzy drinks, the enamel on our teeth gradually dissolves – this is called ‘erosion’ (the loss of the outer protective hard layer of our teeth).
Several research studies suggest that by eating cheese at the end of a meal will help to reduce the chances of developing tooth decay and enamel erosion. There are several ways cheese may help:
Eating cheese like cheddar and edam are tooth friendly chesses, some cheese however is processed and has added sugars with a reduced cheese content, and these can wear away the enamel and increase the risk of developing tooth decay. These not so tooth-friendly cheesy alternatives are:
X Cheese spreads & sprays
X Cheese flavoured crisps
Everything in moderation! Finishing our meal with a small portion of cheese or having a small piece of cheese after an acidic drink or sugary snack is good for our teeth. However, we should be careful about the amount of cheese we consume as cheese is often high in saturated fat and salt. Eating too much cheese could lead to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, increasing our risk of heart disease.
This blog has been written by our associate dentist Anastasios Plessas.
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