Goals either side of the break from Amadou Bakayoko and Dapo Afolayan gave Bolton a third successive home win while ending Cambridge's six-match unbeaten run.
Story of the match
Bolton were quick out of the gates, playing top-quality football right from the off.
Marlon Fossey met a Declan John delivery but he could only hit the side netting, Fossey was an almost constant source of danger.
The hosts continued to press and in the 19th minute, Fossey burst clear again down the right flank, his cross was volleyed over the top by Charles.
Against the run of play, the visitors nearly opened the scoring when Harvey Knibbs headed George Williams' own header against the post midway through the opening half.
Fossey was again the danger man as he bounced a volley just wide before seeing a shot charged down by Harrison Dunk after Cambridge's defence was nearly breached again.
Sam Smith flashed a header just over the top at the other end, but in the 39th minute, Bolton deservedly made the breakthrough.
Afolayan slipped the ball to John, who popped up on the right-hand side of the penalty to pull the ball back for Bakayoko to side-foot past Mitov for his sixth goal of the season.
Early in the second half, the hosts nearly doubled their lead as Afolayan combined with Charles before forcing Mitov into an excellent save and then breaking forward to release Fossey, who appeared to be upended by Dunk as he burst into the penalty box.
In the 70th minute, the lead was doubled when Charles took the ball from James Brophy and fed the ball to Afolayan to move forward and then cut inside to unleash a drive into the roof of the net.
Smith could have cut the visitors' deficit in half on 74 minutes after a swift counter attack that led to the striker shooting on goal, but he couldn’t keep it under the bar.
Half chances came and went for both sides as the match came towards its conclusion, but the score stayed the same as Bolton continued their climb up the table.
Man of the match: James Trafford
The on-loan Manchester City youngster is yet to concede a goal since joining Wanderers last month, making him the first goalkeeper in Bolton history not to concede a goal in his first four games for the club.