New research from India suggests that dairy products may positively affect oral health. In a study of almost 70 teenagers, the researchers observed that cheese in particular raised the plaque pH in the participants’ mouths. As high pH levels are associated with a lower risk of developing cavities, they believe that dairy products may help protect against cavities.
The study involved 68 participants aged 12 to 15 who were assigned randomly to three groups. The first group was instructed to consume 10 g of cheddar cheese, the second group drank 15 ml of milk containing 3.5 per cent fat and the third group was given 10 g of sugar-free yogurt. After a baseline oral health analysis, all participants chewed or swished their respective product around their mouth for 3 minutes and then rinsed with water. Afterwards, the plaque pH level was assessed at different time intervals.
According to the study, the mean plaque pH in the cheese group rose rapidly after 10 minutes and decreased slightly after 20 and 30 minutes, but the plaque pH at 30 minutes was still slightly higher than at baseline. No such development was observed in the other groups. After 30 minutes, the plaque pH in the milk group was similar to that of the baseline pH, while it was slightly lower in the yogurt group. However, none of the dairy products lowered the plaque pH below the critical pH of 5.5, which is associated with enamel demineralisation and dissolution, the researchers said.
They attributed the anti-cariogenic activity of these products to the direct chemical effects of casein, phosphopeptides, calcium and phosphate. Another explanation is that the action of chewing increased saliva production, which led to a rising pH level.
Although additional studies are needed, the findings of this study suggest that dairy products have low cariogenic potential, with cheese having the highest anti-cariogenic property, the researchers concluded.
The study was conducted at the Kothiwal Dental College and Research Centre in Uttar Pradesh, India, in collaboration with the St Joseph Dental College in Andhra Pradesh, India. It was published in the May/June issue of the General Dentistry journal.
Original Source: The Dental Tribune.com