Is Chocolate Bad for Your Teeth?
Chocolate is a wonderful treat loved by people around the world, but there are many questions about its health benefits and disadvantages. One common concern is whether or not chocolate is good for your teeth. After all, it is generally considered a sweet, and most people associate sweets with sugar and tooth decay.
While it is true that excessive sugar is bad for your teeth, there is some good news. Not all chocolate needs to be packed with sugar! In fact, pure dark chocolate has very low levels of sugar and actually provides some benefits to your teeth. Let’s look at some of the facts about chocolate’s effects on your teeth.
Sugar is a major contributor to tooth decay, which is why dentists recommend that you stay away from sweets, or at least cut your consumption down. There is sugar in most commercial chocolate, but there is much variance between different types of chocolate.
Milk chocolate and white chocolate have high levels of sugar, and thus will be greater contributors to tooth decay. Purer, dark chocolate generally contains lower amounts of sugar and won’t be as detrimental to your teeth.
Sugar causes tooth decay because it supports the growth of bacteria. Because it does so, it often causes plague and increases acidity in your mouth. This acidity can erode the enamel on your teeth, which is vital in keeping them strong and healthy and protecting them from other harmful substances.
When it comes to sugar, try to stick to dark chocolate to minimize its effects on your teeth.
Now for some good news. Chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants, and these aren’t just good for your insides but also for your teeth! When cocoa is turned into cocoa butter, these antioxidants are able to coat to your teeth and cause protective properties. Essentially, they protect your enamel, which is why you want to keep sugar levels low so as to not counteract the effects of the antioxidants.
Dark chocolate also has polyphenols, which are chemicals that minimize bacteria growth. This not only helps protect your teeth from decay but can help neutralize bad breath and reduce the level of acidity in your mouth. This is a great way to prevent cavities and keep your teeth healthy overall.
Even if you are sticking to mostly dark chocolate and low-sugar foods, you will still want to practice proper hygiene in order to benefit from the positive effects of chocolate. This means that you should brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and visit your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and a deep cleaning. The dark color of chocolate, after all, can leave some stains on your teeth, but they won’t be permanent if you take care of yourself.
Overall, chocolate is not detrimental to your teeth as long as you are responsible and make the right decisions. Minimize your intake of milk chocolate and switch to dark chocolate for the best results.