DYK Dairy Can Prevent Cavities?

We have often heard that dairy can help build and maintain strong bones, but did you know that this extends to our pearly whites as well? Much like our bones, our teeth need calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and vitamins A&D to stay strong. Dairy foods provide all of these essential bone and teeth building nutrients. In addition to strengthening teeth, dairy foods can help prevent cavities.

Causes of Cavities: 
  • When the pH in our mouth increases in acidity and dips below 5.5, it causes the enamel to break down
  • Digesting sugar and carbohydrates begins in the mouth, which causes the pH to drop

Dairy Helps By:

  • Acting as a buffer in the mouth and preventing the pH from dropping below 5.5
  • Inhibiting the growth of plaque causing bacteria
  • Making our teeth strong by providing calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and vitamins A&D
  • Increasing saliva, which helps put minerals back into your teeth that may have been lost from eating other types of foods

What can you do to help your smile and prevent unnecessary trips to the dentist? Get at least 3 servings of low-fat dairy each day. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Drink milk with meals
  • Add cheese to your snacks as part of a healthy diet
  • Enjoy yogurt as a slightly sweet and healthy dessert


Citation: Touger-Decker R, Loveren CV. Sugars and dental caries. AM. J. Clin. Nutr. 2003;78:881S-92S.
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