The Effects of Beverages on Plaque Acidogenicity After a Sugary Challenge

J Am Dent Assoc. 2013 Jul;144(7):815-22. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2013.0192.


Background: Caries prevention traditionally has emphasized the restriction of cariogenic foods and beverages, but it has placed less emphasis on how the choice, combination and sequence of consumed foods and beverages may help reduce plaque acidogenicity. The authors conducted a study to examine whether whole milk, 100 percent apple juice or tap water affect dental plaque acidity in people after a sugary challenge.

Methods: Twenty adults participated in a randomized controlled crossover study. Participants consumed four combinations of foods: 20 grams of dry sugary Froot Loops (FL) (Kellogg's, Battle Creek, Mich.) cereal, 20 g of FL followed by 50 milliliters of milk (FL/milk), 20 g of FL followed by 50 mL of juice (FL/juice) and 20 g of FL followed by 50 mL of water (FL/water). The authors used a touch microelectrode to take plaque pH readings at the interproximal space just below the contact area between the maxillary premolars on both left and right sides at two and five minutes after FL consumption and at two to 30 minutes after milk, juice or water consumption.

Results: Consumption of FL plaque pH (standard deviation [SD]) was 5.83 (0.68) at 30 minutes, whereas plaque pH (SD) in the FL/milk group was 6.48 (0.30), which was significantly higher than that for FL/juice (5.83 [0.49]) or FL/water (6.02 [0.41]) (P < .005) at 35 minutes.

Conclusion: Drinking milk after a sugary cereal challenge significantly reduced plaque pH drop due to the sugary challenge.

Practical implications: When discussing the cariogenicity of foods and beverages with patients, dentists and other health care professionals should emphasize that the order of ingesting sugary and nonsugary foods is important and may affect their oral health.

Keywords: Dental plaque pH; anticariogenic food and beverages; sugary cereal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Beverages*
  • Cariogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cattle
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dental Plaque / physiopathology*
  • Dietary Sucrose / pharmacology*
  • Edible Grain
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Malus
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • Sorbitol / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Water
  • Young Adult


  • Cariogenic Agents
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Water
  • Sorbitol