Sugary Cereals Damage Teeth – But Got Milk?

Drinking a glass of milk after eating a sugar filled cereal may help protect your teeth. New research into just how we can enjoy our Froot Loops, and still protect against the cavities caused by all that sugar, was published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

These types of cereals are basically refined sugar and starch. When these carbohydrates hit the mouth, the bacteria in our dental plaque throw a party. The bacteria produce acids which soften our tooth enamel which can lead to tooth decay.

This new study involved people eating Froot Loops, dry, no milk. The researchers then had people drink whole milk, tap water, or apple juice. The plaque pH levels were tested before the cereal was eaten, at certain intervals after eating and then again after drinking the liquids. The dental plaque quickly became acidic after eating the cereal but the people who drank milk showed the highest rise in pH levels, meaning the acid levels dropped.

Milk is considered to be a function food that fights cavities two ways: it promotes remineralization of the teeth and inhibits plaque growth. However, if you mix the milk with the cereal (the way we all normally eat our cereal), the milk combines with the cereal to form a syrupy substance. Eating cereal mixed with milk showed acid levels similar to just rinsing your mouth with a 10% sugar solution! Ouch.

Previous studies have shown that eating cheese after a sugary meal reduces acid production in dental plaque as well. We just need to remember to use the knowledge of these “functional” foods to make sure that the last thing we eat is something that will help undo the damage that we just inflicted on our teeth.

Find out more about preventing tooth decay by contacting Asheville cosmetic dentist Dr. John Highsmith today at 828-627-9282.

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Posted in: Oral Health

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