Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s the ultimate feel-good food – and studies prove it has positive effects on mood and feelings of wellbeing when eaten in moderation.
But while our minds might love chocolate, our teeth do not.
While there are distinct health benefits from eating small amounts of chocolate (particularly dark varieties) on a regular basis, like any sugary food, chocolate consumption can be detrimental to your teeth. This is particularly the case for milk chocolate varieties, which have a much higher sugar content than does dark chocolate.
Are there any benefits?
While too much white or milk chocolate can be a very bad thing for your teeth, it’s not all bad news for chocolate lovers.
Some studies suggest that the polyphenols found in dark, raw and unprocessed chocolate can help to fight the overgrowth of organisms including bacteria in the mouth which cause bad breath. Polyphenols can also prevent some sugars from turning into acid and breaking down the enamel in teeth.
Additionally, flavenoids in dark chocolate can slow tooth decay, and antioxidants in dark chocolate are beneficial to heath overall. They can help fight gum disease.
Any tips to enjoying chocolate?
The key to enjoying chocolate while preserving your dental health is to take an “everything in moderation” approach.
Chocolate and other sweet treats should be enjoyed along with a meal. The acids in your mouth are neutralised within an hour of eating foods. So having chocolates at the end of dinner is far better than snacking on it between meals, which keeps your mouth environment acidic for a longer period of time.
And visit your dentist regularly.
Choose to eat very little milk or white chocolate as a very rare treat, and maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and plain water.
Learn to love dark, raw chocolate and enjoy this in preference to milk and white varieties.
Maintain great oral hygiene, and visit your dentist regularly.