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Is Chocolate Good or Bad for your Oral Health?

There has been plenty of debate on whether chocolate is good or bad for your teeth. Many of us while growing up were made to understand that chocolate is not good for the teeth. While it may be true for the majority of the high-sugar chocolate wraps found in the market today, dark chocolate is what holds the real stuff. Current evidence has shown that dark chocolate, when eaten in moderation can improve one’s dental health as well as the overall body health. It has been found to have certain antioxidants that prevent the formation of bacteria which produces the acid that thwarts and destroys our teeth.

 

The cocoa bean ingredient in the chocolate has high levels of antioxidants that are responsible for protecting the teeth. A chocolate with at least 70% cocoa has an abundant number of antioxidants such as tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids that help to reduce the risk of plaque, fight periodontal diseases, neutralize the microorganisms that cause bad breath and reduce swelling of the gums or inflammation of the body. Dark chocolate also contains cocoa butter which coats the teeth making it less susceptible to tooth decay.

 

What about the sugar?

Despite the many oral health benefits of dark chocolate, there is a concern about its sugar content. Sugar increases the chances of plaque sticking on our teeth which result in acid production causing the teeth’s enamel to corrode. Chocolate, however, is a safer option than many other sweet snacks due to the antibacterial properties found in the cocoa beans that help to counteract its high sugar levels. Dark chocolate also has less sugar as compared to milk chocolate or white chocolate, though it’s a rich source of dense calories. The more the cocoa content in your chocolate, the lower the sugar levels and the better it is for your teeth. Furthermore, chocolates melt quickly once placed in the mouth leaving little time for bacteria to anchor to the teeth and form plaque that causes cavities.

 

It’s important, however, for consumers to take it in moderation as an excess intake of chocolate will ultimately hurt them. Dental experts recommend that individuals should take an ounce (150 calories) of dark chocolate three times a week and maintain good oral hygiene to enjoy its benefits and have good healthy teeth. If parents give chocolates to kids, they should ensure that they brush their teeth properly to clear off the sticky residue and prevent plaque build-up that can lead to cavities or even periodontal disease. Brushing should not be done immediately after eating as the teeth are soft and brushing them so soon could harm them. Wait a while, at least 20 minutes then brush and floss to keep your teeth clean and reduce the chances of staining.

 

What we Recommend

You no longer have to feel guilty for treating yourself to some chocolate. Just make sure to pick the least processed dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa or higher, and you are good to go. While at it, remember to practice portion control to reduce the risk of weight gain. It is the best way to indulge your sweet tooth without boosting your body fat. More importantly, maintain a proper dental hygiene to ensure that your teeth and body reaps the benefits that dark chocolate has to offer.

 

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Charlotte Dentistry®
Armstrong & Eshleman, PA

201 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
704-376-6470
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