“Say cheese!” is a photographer’s way to say “Show me those pearly whites.” Now researchers are saying “Eat cheese!” as a way to make your pearly whites less prone to cavities.

People have known for a long time that consuming dairy products is important to bone health. Now a new study published in “General Dentistry” indicates that consuming cheese may help protect against cavities.

Scientists know that a pH level lower than 5.5 in a person’s mouth puts him at risk for tooth erosion. The higher the pH level, the lower the chance of cavities.

Subjects were divided randomly into three groups. One was given cheddar cheese, the second milk and the third sugar-free yogurt. They ate or drank for three minutes then rinsed with water.

The groups who consumed milk and yogurt experienced no changes in their pH levels.

Subjects who ate cheese showed a rapid increase, suggesting that cheese has anti-cavity properties.

So when you’re next asked about how you like your hamburger, try flashing a big smile and saying “Add cheese, please.”