In the fitness community, cheese often gets a bad reputation. As cheese is a high-fat food, many health gurus encourage those looking to lose weight to limit their cheese intake. Even if you were to choose a lower-fat option, cheese still packs a hefty number of calories, so you may have a difficult time staying within your caloric budget for the day.
In the dental community, however, cheese has excited researchers in multiple ways. In one study, individuals who consumed cheese showed a
decrease in dental plaque, and experts concluded that cheese may be a healthy way to reduce the likelihood of cavities.
But just how does cheese benefit your teeth?
1. Cheese Contains Plenty of Calcium
You probably already know that calcium plays a role in building strong bones. Consuming plenty of calcium not only reduces the likelihood of osteoporosis later in life, but it also strengthens the supporting bones in your jaw, which hold your teeth in place. Those who supplement their diet with calcium have greater tooth retention than those who do not.
A standard serving (120 g) of ricotta cheese offers 257 mg calcium, about 25% of the daily recommended intake. A 120 g serving of brie cheese contains 221 mg calcium, while the same amount of gouda offers a whopping 840 mg.
Additionally, cheese features plenty of vitamin D, a nutrient that enables you to properly absorb the calcium in each serving you eat. Better still, the vitamin D from cheese also helps you maintain proper phosphate concentrations so your bones can mineralise and grow properly.
2. Cheese Stimulates Saliva Production
Your mouth behaves much like a miniature ecosystem. Billions of oral bacteria live on your tongue, your teeth and the soft tissues of your mouth. Your oral hygiene, lifestyle and diet affect whether those bacteria thrive or die.
On average, your mouth maintains a neutral pH balance of about 6.75-7.25. This pH balance allows good bacteria and bad bacteria to remain in check. But when you eat acidic foods, your pH values shift toward the acidic, allowing bad bacteria to run rampant while good bacteria die under the prolonged exposure. If your mouth's pH levels drop below 5.5, your teeth start to demineralise, leaving your enamel vulnerable to decay.
Fortunately, cheese can come to your rescue when you eat it during and at the end of your meals. As a sialagogue, cheese stimulates saliva production. Saliva, in turn, neutralises the acids in your mouth and restores your natural pH balance.
But cheese does more than restore neutral pH levels; this tooth-friendly snack shifts your pH toward alkaline. Researchers found that cheese elevates pH levels for 30 minutes after you eat it, giving your teeth a fighting chance against bacteria and dental caries.
3. Cheese Shields Teeth From Acid
The bacteria in your mouth love sugary foods. As they eat the lingering sugars in your mouth, the bacteria secrete acids that wear away your teeth's enamel. The longer those acids sit on your teeth, the more damage they cause. Over time, the acid will eat through your enamel, enter the tiny crevices and pockets of your teeth and cause infection in the soft pulp.
But the acids can't do much harm if they can't stick to your teeth in the first place.
Cheese provides whey and casein proteins which stick to your teeth. They act as a shield against bacteria and acid. Furthermore, the proteins concentrate the calcium and phosphate from the cheese onto your teeth, remineralising your enamel and offering further protection from damage.
Feel Free to Order Extra Cheese With Your Meals
Cheese offers multiple benefits to your dental health as well as your overall health. If you consume cheese in moderation, you can significantly reduce your likelihood of suffering from cavities and tooth decay.
However, you shouldn't swap your toothbrush for a slice of Swiss, nor should you skip your regular dentist appointment. To keep your teeth healthy, combine your cheese consumption with a solid oral hygiene routine, and ask your dentist for frequent cleanings.
The time has come. You brush and floss your kids' teeth every day, but it's finally time for their first official dentist appointment. You know how important it is to attend regular dentist appointments. You want your kids to have good oral health for life and don't want them to develop a fear of the dentist or feel anxiety about dental visits.
To ensure your kids have a good experience on their foundational visit to the dentist, prepare them properly before the big day.
Schedule the First Visit Early
Most experts advise that children see a dentist sometime before their first birthday. The earlier you can get your kids in to the dentist, the better. If they start early, they'll be familiar with the process and know what to expect as they get older.
However, if you missed that first early visit, it's not too late to establish good oral health for your kids. Get them in to see a dentist as soon, and as young, as possible.
Go to a Family-Friendly Dentist
What kind of dentist you choose matters. Even if you love your own dentist, they may not be right for your kids.
Choose a dentist who regularly deals with children and families. Many dentists' offices have long experience dealing with children and will happily accept appointments for the whole family. Your kids will likely have a better time if their dentist knows how to appeal to children.
Remember it's not just the dentist who will deal with your kids. Everyone from the front-office staff to the oral hygienist will also interact with your children and contribute to their first dental experience. Choose an office that knows how to make a positive first impression.
Explain Why You Go to the Dentist
Before their first visit, explain to your kids why it's important to go to the dentist. Talk, in a kidfriendly way, about how the dentist uses special tools to make their teeth squeaky clean again.
Use metaphors or imagery that are easy for kids to understand. Decide, based on your children's personalities, whether to tell them how little cavity bugs hide in their teeth and the dentist needs to clean them off, or whether to just say you need the dentist to keep teeth healthy and strong.
Tell your children what you personally like about going to the dentist. Maybe you like when the dentist polishes your teeth or takes an X-ray. Relay your own experience to give your kids a positive impression of what to expect.
Show Your Kids Positive Media
Familiarize your children with the environment and equipment they'll see at the dentist's office. Show them pictures and videos of kids at the dentist and images of the tools the dentist uses to clean their teeth. Find episodes of kid-friendly TV shows that address dental visits, and watch them with your children.
Expose your children to a variety of positive media about dental visits. If they know what things look like and what to expect before they get to the office, they'll be less intimidated by the dental environment.
Give Your Kids Something to Look Forward To
Offer your children a treat or special event for after their dentist visit. Maybe they'll get to spend a day at the zoo, or just go out for ice cream after their appointment. Give them a positive event to look forward to so they approach their first visit to the dentist with happy anticipation.
With the right preparation, you can help your kids establish a positive relationship to dentists and oral hygiene. Promote a good attitude before their first dental visit and build a healthy foundation for the rest of their lives.