Blow for dental health as EU doubts dairy benefits

Ireland’s National Dairy Council (NDC) has failed to convince the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that dairy products promote dental health.

The NDC recently sought scientific substantiation by the EU of its health claim that dairy foods – milk and cheese – reduced dental caries development.

However, the EFSA considered that the foods for which the claim was made were not sufficiently characterised, e.g. nutritional composition and its variability between products were not provided, and that the evidence provided by the NDC was insufficient to establish a cause-effect relationship between consumption of milk and reduction of dental caries development in children.

The experts stated that there were ‘significant weaknesses’ in a study provided on the effect of one 5g piece of hard cheese consumed daily by children between the ages of seven and nine, which ‘limit its value as a source of data to substantiate a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of hard cheese and reduction of dental caries development in children’.

The EFSA concluded that, on the basis of the data presented, a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of milk or cheese and dental health in children.

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