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Cheese is “Gouda” for Your Teeth…Commentary from a Cheesehead

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Many people I meet from other states automatically assume that, in Wisconsin, we eat cheese.  A lot. All kinds. Every day. Morning and night. We like our dairy products as much as anyone, but Wisconsinites have an especially “cheesy” reputation, partly because of the cheeseheads at the Green Bay Packers games.

Americans eat over 30 pounds of cheese a year, according to a recent article in Medical News Today that explores the pros (calcium!) and cons (fat!) of cheese.

So is cheese good for your patients?  That’s debatable, but one thing is clear – the calcium in cheese and other dairy products is good for their teeth. Besides calcium, there are other tooth benefits to eating cheese.

A study published by the AGD revealed that cheese may have anticariogenic properties that help protect teeth from cavities. 

Frequent sipping/chewing of dairy products may satisfy the need to lubricate and moisten the mouth, while at the same time providing caries protection to highly susceptible individuals.  Milk and milk-based components (without added sucrose) can be used as a substitute for carbohydrate-laden desserts and snacks, which may help reduce the incidence of dental caries.

Delta Dental declares that “cheese unleashes a burst of calcium that mixes with plaque and sticks to the teeth, protecting them from the acid that causes decay and helping to rebuild tooth enamel on the spot.”  Mouthhealthy.org, an ADA website, recommends that adults get about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day preferably from foods, including cheese.

So don’t be afraid to eat cheese – or even be a cheesehead – and encourage your patients to make healthy eating choices and embrace dairy!

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