27/12/2010 13:10 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Yoghurt Could Cut Risk Of Kids Getting Tooth Decay

New research has found that eating yoghurt regularly could cut the risk of children's teeth rotting.

The study, published in the Journal of Dentistry, found that eating yoghurt at least four times a week reduced the chances of three-year-olds developing cavities by 22%.

The Daily Mail reports that the study was trying to find out whether dairy foods could help prevent tooth decay.

But the researchers found that butter, cheese and milk didn't have much effect - it was just yoghurt that seemed to make a difference.

The Mail says it's not clear why yoghurt has this effect but there is a theory that the proteins bind to teeth and seal them, protecting them from acids.

The research was carried out by experts at Fukuoka University and the University of Tokyo, who looked at more than 2,000 children aged three.

They carried out dental checks and asked the parents about their children's eating habits.

The Mail reports that the state of children's teeth is a concern in the UK with a steep rise in the number of kids receiving emergency dental work in hospital last year.

According to the newspaper's figures, nearly 30,000 children a year in England need hospital treatment for tooth decay, many to have rotten teeth pulled.

The Mail reports that the researchers said: "High consumption of yoghurt may be associated with a lower prevalence of dental cavities in young children."

However, British Dental Health Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter told the Mail: "It should be remembered that many yoghurts in the UK contain added sugar and it is well established that increasing the frequency of sugar containing foods and drinks leads to an increase in dental decay.

"Yoghurts are also quite thick and will tend to coat the teeth for longer which can also lead to problems. If parents wish to increase their children's yoghurt intake it is therefore important that this be confined to meal times."

Source: Daily Mail