Researchers found that the fermented dairy product made the mouth more alkaline, which in turn reduced the need for dental treatment.
They also discovered that cheese created a protective film around teeth.
The higher the pH level (the more alkaline) on the surface of teeth, the more teeth are protected against dental erosion, which causes cavities and leads to fillings, said the study.
The research, carried out by the Academy of General Dentistry in the U.S., divided 68 children aged between 12 and 15 into three groups.
One group was asked to consume a daily portion of cheddar, another a sugar-free yoghurt, and another a glass of milk, followed by a mouth rinse.
The pH levels on their dental plaque were measured both before the test and then ten minutes, 20 minutes and half an hour afterwards.
Those who ate the yoghurt or drank the milk showed no changes to the pH levels in their mouths at any of the intervals, said lead researcher Vipul Yadav.
But those who ate the cheese showed a ‘rapid’ increase in pH level at each of the time intervals.
The researchers believe that eating cheese increases the amount of saliva in the mouth which is the body’s natural way of maintaining a healthy pH level.
Added to this, cheese releases chemical compounds that can form a protective layer on teeth which further protects it against the acids that attack enamel.
A spokesman for the research said: ‘The groups who consumed milk and sugar-free yogurt experienced no changes in the pH levels in their mouths.
‘Subjects who ate cheese, however, showed a rapid increase in pH levels at each time interval, suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.’