Chocolate is Good for Oral Health – True or False?
by Dr Richard Barry
Most of us were taught when we were kids that sweets like chocolate will rot your teeth. While this may remain true for some types of our favorite sweet snack, that doesn’t mean we have to take it off the menu altogether. In fact, recent studies have found that dark chocolate, containing high percentages of cocoa, may actually be beneficial to your dental health. Dr. Richard Barry and Dr. Beth Love at Lifetime Dental Health want Columbus residents to know the facts so they can satisfy their sweet-tooth safely.
How does it work?
Dark chocolate is known to contain high levels of antioxidants, which works with our bodies to fight bacteria and disease. Dark chocolate can contain up to four times the amount of antioxidants found in green tea! High levels of antioxidants found in saliva have been proven to help fight periodontal, or gum disease, and slow tooth decay.
What about the sugar?
Yes, chocolate does contain sugar, which is bad for your teeth. However, that is why we are recommending dark chocolate, which has lower amounts of sugar, and higher levels of cocoa (at least 70%). The high levels of antibacterial compounds found in dark chocolate actually counteract the effects of the sugars, making it a safe option for a sweet-tooth. In fact, studies have found one of these compounds to be more effective in fighting cavities than fluoride!
So I can skip my nightly brushing if I have dark chocolate for dessert?
Absolutely…NOT! Even dark chocolate contains some sugar, and while some of its magical compounds help combat the effects of tooth decay, there is no substitute for regular brushing and flossing (at least twice per day) and regular checkups (every 6 months). Hopefully, however, we’ve helped rid Columbus residents of their fear, guilt, and aversion when it comes to chocolate and oral health. Chocolate lovers rejoice!
For more questions concerning your oral health and the effects of your favorite foods or beverages, please give us a call at (614) 451-2234 or stop by Lifetime Dental Health, Dr. Richard Barry and Dr. Beth Love will be happy to talk with you and answer any questions.