Cheese is a friend of your oral health for some reason, says Dr. Berg. First, it is low in carbohydrates, making it difficult for the biofilm of oral bacteria in the mouth to convert carbohydrates into sugar into acid, the latter of which can contribute to tooth decay. And that’s not all: “Cheese can also help maintain the pH balance in our mouths, which is very important for maintaining oral health,” adds Dr. Berg. “When the pH of our mouth becomes unbalanced, especially when it becomes too acidic, the process of cavities and tooth decay is exceeded.”
Last but not least, cheese contains a lot of calcium, a key mineral for the health of bones and teeth. According to instructions from the Mayo Clinic, women between the ages of 19 and 50 need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, while those aged 51 and over should consume about 1,200 milligrams. And while you can certainly find calcium in vegan food sources such as tofu, kale, and almonds, cheese contains much of the nutrients that support bones. For example, a serving of an ounce of cheddar cheese contains about 204 milligrams, or about 20 percent, of your daily calcium intake.
Now that you know that cheese and oral health go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly, you may be wondering if one variety of cheese outperforms the other when it comes to dental health. Dr. Berg recommends paying attention to minimally processed cheese such as cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone and mozzarella. “Cheese in the form of string cheese is low in fat and carbohydrates, and is usually made from mozzarella,” he adds. However, Dr. Berg also points out that it’s hard to go wrong with cheese (no more true words have ever been uttered), so if there’s one particular variety that makes your heart sing, do it.
One final note: make sure you are maintaining your oral health by flossing, brushing your teeth and prioritizing your annual dental appointments as well. After all, research has not yet shown that cheese can protect you from gingivitis, but hey, a girl can dream.
What does a dietitian think about alternative cheeses:
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