We have been told chocolate is bad for our teeth. Is it really bad? Recent studies say that dark chocolate can actually be good for the teeth.
7th July is celebrated as World Chocolate day to spread the awareness of cocoa benefits.
The bad reputation of chocolate?
The reason chocolates have a bad reputation is the high level of sugar in them. Sugar produces acids which act on the teeth and allow the decaying process to start. But dentists say, brushing your teeth twice a day is more important for cavity prevention than avoiding it altogether. New research from the US, Japan, and England, in fact, tells us that it is actually good for us.
Which compounds in dark chocolate are good?
Some compounds found in cocoa beans help to fight tooth decay. But the sugar content in chocolate causes tooth decay. With dark chocolate, you have less sugar content and more cocoa. It is definitely the best option for overall health as compared to white and milk chocolate.
Cocoa beans contain antioxidants which are good for your teeth. These include tannins which give it that bitterness and dark color. Tannins also prevent bacteria from attacking the teeth. Other antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids help to prevent decay and gum problems.
Raw chocolate is great because it has more antioxidants and does not contain processed sugar. Antioxidants are very beneficial to the body, skin, and teeth. They help to lower the risk of infections and some forms of cancer.
Cocoa Bean Husk
CBH (Cocoa bean husk) is a compound found in the cocoa bean which is a white powder. It helps in hardening the tooth surface which prevents decay. Research proves that CBH is effective in animals. It will take a few more years to get it approved for humans in the form of toothpaste and mouthwash.
It is better to go for dark chocolate with less than 6 to 8 grams of sugar per serving. But we must take care of our calorie intake too. Dark chocolate too contains a fair amount of sugar and calories. Excess amounts will surely have an opposite impact on our dental health.
Which chocolate to savor?
For Chocolate to actually benefit the teeth, you can indulge in it with at least 70% cocoa content. The healthiest option is cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are pieces of cacao beans that are bitter to the taste. Some might not like them due to bitterness but they have great nutritional value.
Until CBH is approved for humans, we can benefit from this ingredient by having up to 30 grams of dark chocolate a day. It also helps in blood circulation and improving our mood. Over a long period, it can prevent heart disease, too.
Chocolate can help your dental and overall health in many ways, so it’s good to indulge every once in a while. But wait, don’t forget to brush and rinse after that!