Is Cheese Good for Your Teeth?
By: Hygienist Rachel Nicholson-Moriarity
Another Reason to say “Cheese” When You Smile
If you’ve ever wondered why we say “cheese” when we smile, you’re likely in good company. While we can’t say for sure why this word was chosen, we know it causes people everywhere to smile for photos.
What you may not know is that cheese is actually very good for your teeth. That being said, maybe we say cheese as an homage to the great snack that helps keep your teeth healthy.
The Dental Benefits of Eating Cheese
In Wisconsin, whether you’re from here or passing through, you can’t miss our cheese and dairy culture. We serve it on everything; cold, fried, and aged, there’s an option for everyone.
The protein in cheese called casein coats the teeth with a protective film that helps fend off acid that would normally attach tooth enamel.
It also increases your mouth’s saliva production, which washes away sugar, bacteria, and acid. Firm cheese, such as Cheddar and Monterey Jack, are especially good, along with Brie and Camembert and blue cheeses like Gorgonzola and Roquefort.
Rather than reaching for a snack high in carbohydrates, choose a slice of cheese instead! Besides having properties that are beneficial to your teeth, cheese is high in protein to keep you feeling full for longer.
Choosing cheese as a dessert or eating it as an appetizer, snack or in addition to foods that could be potentially harmful to your teeth is a great way to ward off bacteria. However, remember that it’s not a replacement for routine oral health care or visiting your dentist--even for us Wisconsinites who consume on average 35.1 pounds of cheese annually!
Not to be Cheesy…
Fun Facts About Cheese in Wisconsin
- Ninety percent of Wisconsin milk is made into cheese. That’s more than 2.8 billion pounds of cheese per year or 11 pounds for each person in the United States.
- Wisconsin produces 600 varieties of cheese. Brick and Colby cheese were first created in Wisconsin and Limburger—the world’s single foulest-smelling cheese—is made only in Monroe.
- Wisconsin is home to more than 13 festivals dedicated specifically to cheese.
- Wisconsin is the only state that requires a license to make cheese—and home to the only Master Cheesemaker program outside of Europe.
- Wisconsin produces one of every four pounds of cheese in the U.S. (3.17 billion lbs. per year)
- The Dairy State boasts more national and international cheese awards than anywhere in the world.
- UW Madison established the nation’s first dairy school.
- If it were a country, Wisconsin would rank 4th in the world in cheese production, behind the rest of the United States, Germany, and France.
- According to the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, forty-seven percent of all specialty cheese made in the U.S. comes from Wisconsin.
Fun facts courtesy of Travel Wisconsin