Tooth Decay

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Finally, it has been recognized for decades that eating cheese slows tooth decay, which is caused by acid secretion from relatives of a yogurt bacterium (especially Streptococcus mutans) that adhere to the teeth. Just why is still not entirely clear, but it appears that eaten at the end of a meal, when streptococcal acid production is on the rise, calcium and phosphate from the cheese diffuse into the bacterial colonies and blunt the acid rise.