Can Eating Cheese Fight Cavities?

A new study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, found that children who ate cheese experienced an elevated PH level in their mouths, which could indicate that eating cheese can help fight cavities.

The study sampled 68 12 to 15-year-olds, and the authors looked at the dental plaque pH in the subjects’ mouths before and after they consumed cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion, which is a process that wears away the enamel (or protective outside layer) of teeth. “The higher the pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chance of developing cavities,” explains Vipul Yadav, MDS, lead author of the study.

Those who ate cheese experienced a rapidly elevated PH.  The kids who drank milk or ate sugar-free yogurt did not experience an altered PH, suggesting that these products may have no effect on cavity prevention.

We’re wondering if the anti-cavity benefits are due to the bacteria in cheese, rather than the dairy, itself?  For instance, would a non-dairy cheese (equally fermented) bestow the same properties of cavity prevention?