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Myth or truth: is chocolate really bad for you?

Whether you love dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, or any variety of this endorphin-releasing, feel good treat, there is always a hint of guilt accompanying the pleasure.

Have you ever wondered whether chocolate is bad for your teeth, or if consuming too much of it may exacerbate any existing dental conditions that you may have, such as weakened enamel or cavities? you may be surprised at the amount of positive data there is out there about how consuming chocolate affects the body and how it can have positive effects on your oral health!

Is Chocolate Bad for You? Let’s Find Out.

Just as studies have shown that a glass of red wine daily can improve circulation and overall heart health in normal adults, studies have indicated that eating chocolate on a daily basis over years can actually improve overall brain cognition. The study was conducted observing 968 participants over an 18-year period and the results indicated higher scores on various cognition tests in participants who consumed chocolate on a daily basis.

Now if that’s not a great reason to run to your nearest supermarket and stock up, we don’t know what is! All that aside, let’s take a look at some popular types of chocolate and what their effects are on your oral and overall health.

White Chocolate and teeth

white chocolate and teeth
Because of its absence of cocoa solids, white chocolate is the least-nutritious chocolate choice. White chocolate can be high in calcium, but it has few other health benefits. Savor it on special occasions as a well-deserved treat! The higher sugar content that is contained in white chocolate can cause cavities and tooth decay more so than dark, raw, or organic chocolate.

Milk Chocolate and teeth

milk chocolate and teeth
Unlike white chocolate, milk chocolate can be beneficial to your health in moderation. The natural properties of cocoa, along with the added calcium and fatty acids from the milk, make it useful in preventing certain health issues. However, it has similar sugar contents to white chocolates, meaning that the risk of getting dental decay is the same for white chocolate and milk chocolate!

Dark Chocolate and teeth

dark chocolate and teeth
Dark chocolate is by far the most beneficial choice when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy and free from cavities. There are some studies that even suggest that dark chocolate can be a cavity fighter.

– Dark chocolate contains polyphenols. These chemicals can help fight the overgrowth of bacteria and other organisms in the mouth. They can neutralize organisms that cause bad breath and they can prevent some sugars from turning into acid, which can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities.
– Dark chocolate contains flavonoids. Flavonoids have been shown to slow tooth decay.
– Dark chocolate contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are beneficial to overall health in many ways but when it comes to oral health, having higher levels of antioxidants in your saliva has been shown to help fight gum disease.
– Dark chocolate, otherwise known as “real chocolate”, is made up of around 70% cocoa and only 30% powdered milk and sugar. This is what we call “dentist approved”!

How Tooth Decay Occurs & How You Can Prevent It

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids. Those acids eat away at the surface of your teeth, causing decay and cavities.
Tooth decay occurs over time. However, it can be mostly prevented by cutting down on your sugar intake, watching what types of foods you eat, both sweet and savory, and ensuring that you are brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis. It also helps to visit your dentist two times per year to identify oral problems early and remove plaque and tartar buildup.
For this year’s holidays, go ahead and indulge. Just remember that, as with most things, watch out for the sugars, enjoy in moderation, and brush your teeth straight after!