Added Sugar in Raisin Cereals Increases Acidity of Dental Plaque
As Cosmetic dentists in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, many of our clients that come to Partners In Dental Health inquire about sugar and cavities. Elevated dental plaque acid can be a risk factor that contributes to cavities in youngsters. But eating bran flakes with raisins containing no added sugar doesn’t promote more acid in dental plaque than bran flakes alone, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Some dentists believe sweet, sticky foods for instance raisins cause cavities because they are hard to clear off of the tooth surfaces, said Christine Wu, professor and director of cariology research at UIC and lead investigator of the study.
But research indicates that raisins are rapidly cleared from the surface of the teeth just as apples, bananas and chocolate, she said.
While in the study, published in the journal Pediatric Dentistry, children ages 7 to 11 compared four food groups – raisins, bran flakes, commercially marketed raisin bran cereal, and a mix of bran flakes with raisins lacking any added sugar.
Sucrose, or white sugar, and sorbitol, a sugar substitute often utilized in diet foods, were also tested as controls.
Children chewed and swallowed the test foods within two minutes. The acid generated by the plaque bacteria on the surface of their teeth was measured at intervals.
All test foods except the sorbitol solution promoted acid production in dental plaque over 30 minutes, with the largest production between Ten to fifteen minutes.
Wu says there’s a well-documented danger zone of dental plaque acidity that puts a tooths enamel at risk for mineral loss that may lead to cavities. Achint Utreja, a research scientist and dentist formerly on Wus team, said plaque acidity didn’t reach that point after children consumed 10 grams of raisins. Adding unsweetened raisins to bran flakes did not increase plaque acid in comparison to bran flakes alone.
However, eating commercially marketed raisin bran resulted in much more acid in the plaque, he said, reaching into what Wu recognized as the danger zone.
Plaque bacteria on tooth surfaces can ferment various sugars such as glucose, fructose or sucrose and produce acids that may promote decay. But sucrose is also used by bacteria to produce sticky sugar polymers that help the bacteria remain on tooth surfaces, Wu said. Raisins themselves do not contain sucrose.
In a previous study at UIC, researchers identified several natural compounds from raisins that may inhibit the increase of some oral bacteria linked to cavities or gum disease.
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