IS CHOCOLATE BAD FOR YOUR TEETH?

IS CHOCOLATE BAD FOR YOUR TEETH?

Chocolates and your teeth

With Easter on its way, many parents are preparing for large hauls of eggs and other chocolate goodies. Though the experience of hunting may be fun, what exactly are the effects that chocolate can have on our teeth?

Chocolate can be good for your teeth

This is likely to be one of the most surprising statements coming from the dentistry industry. Though there are some limitations, the first being that it is DARK chocolate (70% or more cocoa) is the best chocolate for you. Recent research indicates that dark chocolate contains compounds that have the potential to fight tooth decay better than fluoride can. Unfortunately milk chocolate does not qualify because of its high sugar content. Tooth decay takes place when the bacteria in your mouth turns sugar into acids which then eats at the enamel of your teeth and then causes cavities. It is the cocoa bean husk (a primary ingredient in dark chocolate) that helps to counteract the negative effects of the sugars.

The healthiest choice would be to chew cacao nibs to get the most of that antibacterial effect but this flavour is not an option for everyone. You can opt instead for dark chocolate which has very small amounts of sugar per serving, but as with everything in life – moderation is advised. Raw chocolate is also a suitable option because it is less processed than any other chocolate, leaving more of the antioxidants intact.

Dentists suggest that dark chocolate three times a week will be good for your health and not harmful to your teeth. Do also be aware that too much dark chocolate can potentially stain your teeth so once again, moderation!

 

Bad chocolate

In spite of the great health effects that dark chocolate has, it is the milk chocolate that sells. Most candy bars contain chocolate that has been altered with sugar added to make it more palatable. Of course kids are not the biggest fans of the less sweet dark chocolate and most Easter treats are comprised of the sugary milk chocolate which means that rationing is extremely important. If you are able to get your little ones to eat the less sweet version, it will likely make for a little fewer arguments after the Easter haul. Perhaps a discussion on how milk chocolate causes sugar to remain on the teeth which in turn encourages cavities may be in order. Turn dark chocolate into a treat or reward, explaining how it is healthier and better for you could do the trick. If this doesn’t work then try to aim for organic chocolate which will be at least a little better in the long run.

Making chocolate healthier

There are some oral experts who recommend eating your chocolate in one sitting as well as after meals as this will aid in lowering the number of acid attacks on your teeth. Rather than eating sweets and sugars over the course of the day, choose to have them after one meal instead. This is because it can take your mouth up to 2 hours to rebalance those decay inducing acids. It is better to ration the Easter eggs out after a meal rather than letting them indulge in a large quantity all at once.

Maintaining a good oral routine

Prevention is always better than a cure so when you do indulge, make sure to keep up your oral care by brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning to brush away the sleep and once at night to be rid of any remaining food and sugars from the day. Floss at least once a day because that will help you reach into the spaces that your brush cannot and if you can, use an antibacterial mouthwash to ensure the healthiest chompers possible.

For optimal oral health, remember to visit Bonfire Dental at least twice a year for regular checkups. We believe that prevention is the cure so call 0466 88 99 70 to book your appointment today.

 

Is chocolate bad for my teeth?

This question has both a yes and no answer. Of course we have all had it drilled into our heads that chocolate is bad for your teeth and in terms of processed milk chocolate, the answer is yes. Milk chocolate is high in sugar which the bacteria in your mouth turn into acid. That acid then attacks the enamel on your teeth, eventually creating cavities. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar giving the bacteria in your mouth less to convert into acid. So dark chocolate may not be bad for you but as with everything in life, moderation is key.

What are the benefits of dark chocolate?

Recent studies have uncovered the surprising health benefits of dark chocolate. Those that are rich in cocoa and that are not overly processed contain anti-oxidants and of course far less decay-inducing sugars. It is also the cocoa bean husk (a primary ingredient in dark chocolate) that helps to counteract the negative effects of the sugars. Recent research also indicates that dark chocolate contains compounds that have the potential to fight tooth decay better than fluoride can.

Dentists suggest that dark chocolate three times a week will be good for your health and not harmful to your teeth. Do also be aware that too much dark chocolate can potentially stain your teeth so once again, moderation!

How can I make chocolate healthier?

Chocolate is not the enemy we once thought it was. Opting for dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage is one simple choice that can make chocolate a little healthier. Cacao nibs are even better if you are accustomed to the taste though they may not be for everyone.

It is also recommended that you eat chocolate after a meal and ideally keep it to just one meal. This is because it can take the mouth between 20 minutes to 2 hours to fully neutralise the sugars in your mouth. So if you eat sweets over the course of the day, it makes it harder for your mouth to fully be rid of those sugars. Finally, maintain a good oral hygiene routine by brushing twice daily and visiting the dentist twice a year.