Dr. Berg says cheese is good for your oral health for several reasons. First, it’s low in carbohydrates — making it difficult for the vital 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 gets out of balance, especially when it becomes very acidic, the process of cavity formation and tooth decay increases excessively.”
Last but not least, cheese contains a lot of calcium, which is an essential mineral for the health of your bones and teeth. According to Mayo Clinic guidelines, women ages 19 to 50 need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, while women 51 and older should consume about 1,200 milligrams. And while you can certainly find calcium in plant-based food sources like tofu, kale, and almonds, cheese contains its fair share of bone-supporting nutrients. For example, a one-ounce serving 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 together like peanut butter and jelly, you might be wondering if one type of cheese is superior to another when it comes to dental health. Dr. Berg recommends keeping an eye on minimally processed cheeses such as cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone, and mozzarella. “Cheese in the form of a string are low-fat and low-carb cheeses, and usually consist of mozzarella,” he adds. However, Dr. Berg also points out that it’s hard to go wrong with cheese (no truer words spoken) — so if there’s a particular type that makes your heart sing, go for it.
One final note: Make sure to keep your mouth healthy by flossing, brushing your teeth, and prioritizing annual dental appointments as well. After all, research hasn’t yet shown that cheese can protect you from gingivitis — but hey, a girl can dream.
What a dietitian thinks about alternative cheese:
Oh hello! Look like someone who loves free workouts, discounts for the latest wellness brands, and exclusive Well + Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of health insiders, and unlock your rewards right away.