Cheese And Dairy Products May Prevent Cavities

Consuming dairy products is vital to maintaining good overall health, and it’s especially important to bone health. But there has been little research about how dairy products affect oral health in particular. However, according to a new study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), consuming cheese and other dairy products may help protect teeth against cavities.

The study sampled 68 subjects ranging in age from 12 to 15, and the authors looked at the dental plaque pH in the subjects’ mouths before and after they consumed cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. A pH level lower than 5.5 puts a person at risk for tooth erosion, which is a process that wears away the enamel (or protective outside layer) of teeth. “The higher the pH level is above 5.5, the lower the chance of developing cavities,” explains Vipul Yadav, MDS, lead author of the study.

The subjects were assigned into groups randomly. Researchers instructed the first group to eat cheddar cheese, the second group to drink milk, and the third group to eat sugar-free yogurt. Each group consumed their product for three minutes and then swished with water. Researchers measured the pH level of each subject’s mouth at 10, 20, and 30 minutes after consumption.

The groups who consumed milk and sugar-free yogurt experienced no changes in the pH levels in their mouths. Subjects who ate cheese, however, showed a rapid increase in pH levels at each time interval, suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.

The study indicated that the rising pH levels from eating cheese may have occurred due to increased saliva production (the mouth’s natural way to maintain a baseline acidity level), which could be caused by the action of chewing. Additionally, various compounds found in cheese may adhere to tooth enamel and help further protect teeth from acid.

“It looks like dairy does the mouth good,” says AGD spokesperson Seung-Hee Rhee, DDS, FAGD. “Not only are dairy products a healthy alternative to carb- or sugar-filled snacks, they also may be considered as a preventive measure against cavities.”

Women in their 40s more likely to have dental anxiety and phobia, study says

(CBS News) Women in their 40s are more likely to fear the dentist more than any other age group, according to an ongoing University of Sydney study .

The study, now in its fifth year, shows that women of this age were most likely to have perceived a “traumatic dental experience, abuse, trauma and oro-facial trauma.” These women were also more likely to be depressed, have general anxiety, suffer from stress and also had trouble coping with pain, often perceiving pain in “alarmist ways” like it’s a catastrophe.

According to study coordinator Dr. Avanti Karve, a special needs dentist for the University of Sydney Faculty of Dentistry in Australia, 40 percent of the western population is affected by dental fear. A recent telephone survey in Australia showed that a person with severe dental anxiety waits 17 days on average before making an appointment, as opposed to 3 days people without dental fears wait. In America alone, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine  estimates 30 million to 40 million avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear.

More preschoolers showing up to dentists with 10 cavities or more, says report

“Dental anxiety is very real and complex and it should never be downplayed,” Karve said in the University of Sydney article.

People with dental phobia have a higher risk of gum disease, early tooth loss and may suffer from poorer health as usual, according to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. Fearing the dentist can even lead to a lower life expectancy because poor oral health has been linked to conditions such as heart disease and lung infections.

Dr. Karve hopes the ongoing study will help identify specific triggers that cause dental phobia, and help find a drug-free cure.

In the meantime, if you fear the dentist, try laughing and thinking positively. New research from the University of Gothenburg  suggests that using humor when interacting with the dental staff and maintaining an optimistic outlook helps a person deal with the treatment better.