Cereals are one of the most loved breakfast must-haves in every household, and why not when they’re extremely appetizing and preparing them is so quick and easy. But, have you ever asked yourself how your favourite cereals affect your teeth?
Dry ready-to-eat, sugar-added cereals combine refined sugar and starch (carbohydrates). According to University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry Professor and Director of Cariology, Christine Wu, when those carbohydrates are eaten, bacteria in the dental plaque on tooth surfaces produce acid that can cause tooth decay.
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.
Professor Wu and her team of researchers’ new study showed that washing down sugary breakfast cereal with milk after eating reduces plaque acid levels and may prevent damage to tooth enamel that leads to cavities.
The research involved 20 adults eating 20 grams of dry Froot Loops cereal, then drinking different beverages—whole milk, 100% 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,” said researcher Shilpa Naval, who is currently a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “We believe that milk helped mitigate the damaging effect of fermentable carbohydrate and overcome the previously lowered plaque pH.”
Additionally, in an unpublished study in her lab, Professor Wu said that consuming sugar-added cereal with milk, followed by drinking fruit juice is a highly cavity-causing combination.