Great News: Dark Chocolate Can Do Wonders For Your Teeth
We know that candy bars certainly won’t keep the cavities away, but dark chocolate, when eaten in moderation, can actually be good for your teeth. Recent studies emerging from England, Japan, and the U.S. reveal that dark chocolates have properties that help strengthen enamel, ward off tooth decay, and prevent cavities. But, here’s the thing that really blows the mind – dark chocolate may even be more effective than fluoride in protecting your teeth.
How is this possible? We’ve known chocolate as something we need to avoid if we want to maintain our sparkly whites. However, there may be more to it than a guilty fix. Let experts from Kyrene Family Dentistry discuss which of its properties are beneficial to your oral health.
A Word Of Caution
Chocolate may be the king of junk foods, but it certainly isn’t the main culprit for dental caries. Still, it is important to note that most chocolates sold today are full of sugar and dairy – things that can wreak havoc on your teeth.
The good aspects lie in the cocoa powder derived from the cocoa bean, so the closer the confection is to its original state, the better. The healthy properties of dark chocolate become less and less as it goes into different processes that eventually turn it into milk and white chocolate. This is the reason many people have the misconception that the entire category is detrimental to dental health.
According to various studies, dark, unprocessed cacao has benefits that go beyond cellular protection, with one paper documenting how effective it is at supporting oral hygiene. The mechanism resides within the cocoa bean husk, which houses a compound called CBH. This is a white crystalline powder that has properties similar to caffeine. It helps harden the tooth enamel, making it less vulnerable to tooth decay.
Theobromine, another compound in chocolate, is more effective than fluoride when it comes to re-mineralizing the teeth, a University of Texas study confirms. Researchers tested saliva, fluoride, and theobromine to see their effects on tooth enamel. Theobromine showed promising results, providing the fastest rate of recovery than the enamel treated with fluoride. This amazing compound prevents bacterial acid erosion that leads to cavities.
Fluoride, as a preventive measure for dental caries for decades, has certain drawbacks such as fluorosis and toxicity. Considering that chocolate isn’t as dangerous if swallowed in the same way as fluoride and that it is better at strengthening teeth, is definitely fantastic news. Just make sure to get low-sugar dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cacao, or better yet, nibble on organic cacao nibs.
Hopefully, these discoveries will prompt the manufacture of toothpaste with cacao properties. It should also encourage us to reexamine the sugary milk chocolate we consume and replace it with the good stuff that not only tastes great but also improves our oral health.
For more dental tips to keep your smile bright and brilliant, visit Kyrene Family Dentistry. Call us today at 480-705-9005 to schedule an appointment.
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Tarka SM et al. Theobromine kinetics and metabolic disposition. Clin.Pharmacol.Ther 1983, October;546-555.
VenkateshBabu NS, Vivek DK, Ambika G. Comparative evaluation of chlorhexidine mouth rinse versus cacao bean husk extract mouth rinse as antimicrobial agents in children. European Archives of Pediatric Dentistry. 2011;12(5).