Creating Healthy Smiles, One Smile At A Time

Monthly Archives: January 2015

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One never ever hears of a mouse developing a cavity.  That may be because they either never do in fact get cavities (ie. their teeth are somewhat resistant to decay) or that the NIDH (National Institute of Dental Health) has determined that federal funding for research is better off spent in other areas.

Or maybe it’s because they like cheese.

Let me explain.  A May/June 2013 article in General Dentistry, the peer reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (aka a pretty reliable source) found that cheese changes the pH of the oral environment, suggesting that it may imagehelp reduce the risk of tooth erosion.  If you remember High School chemistry, an increase in pH means the environment is less acidic. Studies have shown that a pH of over 5.5 lessens the chance of tooth erosion, and hence also cavities.

The study, which examined 68 subjects between the ages of 12 and 15, divided these subjects into 3 separate groups and tested their pH levels both before and after their consumption of sugar free yogurt, milk or cheddar cheese.   They found that a rapid rise in oral pH levels was found only in individuals who had consumed the cheese.  This could be because that the very act of chewing stimulates saliva production which in of itself causes a rise in pH.  The authors also hypothesize that there are compounds in cheese which adhere to teeth and are anti-cariogenic in effect.  What these ‘compounds’ are is unclear.

Further google sleuthing by us here at Dentistry For Children, did find that mice can indeed develop cavities. None other than the most famous mouse of all has had to seek out dental care, as shown by this 1938 sketch titled, “Mickey’s Toothache”.  We particularly enjoyed the animators portrayal of the dentist as a  bearded, one legged and saw wielding fellow, though we do take issue with the saw.

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The takeaway from this sketch is that at least in Walt Disney’s mind, mice can get cavities and that dentists are kinda scary. Fortunately, we now know that if Mickey had stuck to an all Cheese diet maybe he would have had a fighting chance of having a cavity free life.