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Dairy dental benefits played up in industry health drive

By Neil Merrett , 13-Feb-2008

A UK-based nutrition group has this week kicked off a new scheme designed to promote the consumption of dairy products like cheeses and milk as a key element of good dental health.

The Dairy Council says that the Slurp and Chew ad scheme began on Monday, and will be played at 160 dental surgeries in the UK. The scheme aims to push the message that cheese and milk consumption can offer consumers an effective means of fighting tooth decay- claims that have been accepted by the British Dental Health Foundation. The latest Dairy Council campaign is in line with an industry wide attempt to play up dairy products as a major part of a healthy diet, amidst growing consumer and regulatory concerns over issues like obesity and heart health. Council director, Dr. Judith Bryans, said the Slurp and Chew scheme plays up the importance of components like calcium and phosphorus in developing and protecting teeth. "With regards to dental health itself, milk is one of the few drinks that are safe to have between meals, and a small piece of hard cheese chewed on its own after meals can actually help reduce the risk of tooth decay," she stated. Independent charity The British Dental Health Foundation, agreed that certain dairy products could indeed be good for teeth. Foundation chief executive Dr. Nigel Carter told DairyReporter.com that the high pH value of cheese and milk helps to neutralise plaque acids from sugars. "It surprises many people that a small piece of cheese is actually far better for your teeth than an apple, [as] apples are quite acidic and can cause dental erosion," he said.


Carter was keen to stress though that not all dairy products should be considered as good way to avoid regular dentist visits. "Milk and still water are the only drinks that the Foundation recommends as being safe for teeth", he added. "It is important that people eat a healthy balanced diet, including food from each of the major food groups." However, the dairy industry believes that it can offer a number of benefits to diet.


Just last month, a number of leading dairy experts claimed that the industry was "unfairly" blamed for contributing to the growing worldwide obesity crises, and that its businesses needed to do to promote the dietary benefits of its products.

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