Gig Harbor Dentist Asks: Is Dairy for Strong Teeth Just an Old Wives Tale?

A closeup of a woman smiling

“Drink your milk,” your mother said. But is your dentist saying it, too?

Got Milk? How Important Is It?

You probably learned in school “dairy is important for healthy bones and teeth.” But do you really believe it?

Top Gig Harbor dentist explains how dairy helps your oral health.

The Proof is in the Pudding

General Dentistry published the results of an interesting study in their May/June 2013 edition. Here’s a simplified breakdown for your benefit.

  • The study’s subjects: 68 young people between 12 and 15 years old.
  • Pre-trial observations: The level of each individual’s plaque was noted to enable post-study comparisons.
  • The trial: Subjects were asked to consume a quantity of cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt within a 3-minute time frame.
  • Evaluation: The pH level of their mouths was then measured after intervals of 10, 20, and 30 minutes. (Note: Our mouth’s pH level in saliva is important because tooth roots begin to dissolve when the pH level gets below neutral (pH 6.5). If levels drop to a pH 5.5 or lower, teeth will erode, discolor, and become at risk for cavities. On the other hand, teeth actually become stronger and re-mineralize when the mouth is alkaline (a pH 7.5 or above)

Results of Dairy on Teeth: Simply put, cheese was found to have created a healthy pH level in the mouth while milk and yogurt fell within the “harmless” pH range.

Conclusion: Drink Up or Nibble!

This scientific study concluded with the statement: “It appears that milk possesses many of the desired biological and physical properties for a saliva substitute. Frequent sipping/chewing of dairy products may satisfy the need to lubricate and moisten the mouth, while at the same time providing caries (cavity) protection.”

Of course, nibbling cheese and drinking milk is not a substitute for brushing, flossing, or pursuing regular dental checkups! But, of all snacks you might be considering, these are good ones that’ll keep your smile happy and your body strong!

Please share: What’s your favorite drink/snack that ensures you get your daily intake of dairy?

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