It’s back to school time – which means that a fast breakfast of cold cereal before a mad dash to the bus stop will return to many of your patients’ routines.
They might be interested to know that a glass of milk after eating sugary cereals may prevent cavities, according to new research from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. The research is published in the July issue of the Journal of The American Dental Association.
Dry ready-to-eat, sugar-added cereals combine refined sugar and starch. When those carbohydrates are consumed, bacteria in the dental plaque on tooth surfaces produce acids, said Christine Wu, professor of pediatric dentistry and director of cariology, who served as principal investigator of the study. Reports have shown that eating carbohydrates four times daily, or in quantities greater than 60 grams per person per day, increases the risk of cavities.
The new study involved 20 adults eating 20 grams of dry Froot Loops cereal, then drinking different beverages: whole milk, 100 percent apple juice, or tap water.
"Our study results show that only milk was able to reduce acidity of dental plaque resulting from consuming sugary Froot Loops," the researchers reported. "We believe that milk helped mitigate the damaging effect of fermentable carbohydrate and overcome the previously lowered plaque pH."
Dr. Wu said many consumers think that since milk is considered to be cavity-fighting, acid production by plaque bacteria can be minimized by mixing it with cereal. However, in an unpublished study in her lab, it was discovered that the combination of Froot Loops and milk became syrupy. Eating cereal combined with milk lowered plaque acidity to levels similar to that obtained after rinsing with a 10 percent sugar solution.