Chocolate is a universal pleasure, but most of us know that sugary treats are bad for our teeth.
Thankfully, chocolate can be beneficial, and depending on your preferences, your chocolate habit may actually be helping your teeth.
Milk Chocolate is everywhere, from foodie treats like chocolate dipped bacon to candy bars and ice cream. It is “sweet” chocolate, with a lower cocoa and higher sugar content. In order to soften up the naturally bitter taste of cocoa, manufacturers add sugar and powdered milk to create an almost addictive confection. As you might have guessed, the added sugar causes problem with dental hygiene. When sugar mixes with saliva, it creates an acid that wears away at enamel, and some research shows that high levels of sugar in the blood stream cause nutrient deficiencies that leave us vulnerable to tooth decay.
Dark chocolate is increasing in popularity. Its lower sugar content and high levels of cocoa give it a stronger flavor profile, but it is still a rich and delightful treat. And there is a growing list of health benefits from flavonoid-rich cocoa. There are several compounds in dark chocolate that have been linked to increased dental health, especially theobromine, which been shown to repair tooth enamel in some cases. Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants that promote general as wellbeing as well as dental health. The key is that dark chocolate keeps more of the properties of the cocoa bean.
Chocolate can be a great benefit to the health, as long as you are consuming high cocoa, low sugar options. About three ounces a day is recommended to reap the health benefits. So enjoy!