The effect of cheese on dental caries: a review of the literature

Aust Dent J. 1991 Apr;36(2):120-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.1991.tb01340.x.


The relationship between nutrition and dental health has been a topic of interest for many years. Recently, the cariostatic properties of cheese have been the subject of intensive research. Most of these studies suggest that the use of cheese as the final food in a meal will help to reduce caries. Several mechanisms by which cheese may reduce enamel demineralization have been proposed. Chewing cheese stimulates saliva flow. The alkaline nature of saliva buffers the acids formed in plaque. There is also an increased rate of sugar clearance due to the diluting action of cheese-stimulated saliva. Research has also suggested that chewing cheese may reduce the levels of cariogenic bacteria. This may be secondary to the reduced incidence of caries as conditions within a carious lesion tend to promote the growth of these organisms. The high calcium and phosphorus content seems to be another factor in the cariostatic mechanism of cheese. Both casein and whey protein seem to be involved in the reduction of enamel demineralization. Casein phosphopeptides may also be responsible for some anticariogenicity by concentrating calcium and phosphate in plaque. An overview of the effect of milk on dental caries is also presented in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cariostatic Agents*
  • Cheese*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Humans


  • Cariostatic Agents