To most food-eating and beverage-drinking humans (all of the humans), it is no mystery that what you put in your mouth directly affects your health. We associate sugar with cavities, garlic with bad breath, and milk with strong teeth and bones. As soy milk becomes more popular, we feel the need to point out the association between soymilk and cavities.
How are Cavities Formed?
To understand how soymilk, which contains very little sugar, can contribute to the formation of cavities, it is important to know how cavities form in the first place. Thousands of microscopic bacteria live in your mouth, hiding in the plaque and tartar on teeth and feeding off the remnants of foods you consume. These bacteria produce harmful acids after their daily feasts, and it is these acids that wear down the enamel of teeth, causing dental caries.
Oral Bacteria and Soymilk
Soymilk is made by boiling soybeans in water and is often sold in flavored varieties, or enriched with vitamins. A recent study published in the Journal of Dentistry compared soymilk and cow’s milk and their effects on cultures of the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans. In a laboratory setting, the bacteria that fed on soymilk produced nearly six times more acid than bacteria that fed on cow’s milk. As discussed above, the more acid bacteria produce, the more likely cavities are to form.
Does Your Dentist Recommend Drinking Soymilk?
As alarming as this study might be to soymilk lovers, it is best to understand that the environment of a petri dish is not identical to the environment in your mouth. If you do plan on holding large quantities of soymilk in your mouth all day, you may be in trouble, but the occasional cup or cereal bowl of the drink will probably not cause you to sprout numerous cavities on the spot. Combined with an oral hygiene regimen consisting of brushing teeth twice a day, flossing at least once, and visiting your North Chicago dentist at least twice a year for regular dental cleanings, soy milk is probably not something that needs to be removed from your diet altogether.
Schedule an Appointment Today
To schedule your six month cleaning, or to discuss your oral health concerns with a dental professional, call us today at (847)234-0517. We gladly serve patients from Lake Forest and neighborhoods in the greater Chicago area.