Is Chocolate Bad for your Teeth?

The answer is maybe not as bad as you might think. Studies have suggested that eating chocolate on a daily basis over years can actually improve your overall brain function. The  The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal 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. Having said that the devil is in the detail…

Milk chocolate, such as Cadburys,  is probably one of the most popular and widely consumed types of chocolate. Unfortunately, it contains more sugar than dark chocolate. It is made from a combination of cocoa, powdered milk, and sugar. The breakdown is usually 20-30% real cocoa, with the balance consisting of sugar and powdered milk. The higher sugar content that is contained in milk chocolate can cause tooth decay more so than dark, raw, or organic chocolate.

Dark chocolate is by far the better choice when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy and cavity free. There are some studies that even suggest that it can actually inhibit cavity formation. Chocolate is made up of over 300 compounds and is a highly complex substance. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols. These chemicals can help fight the overgrowth of bacteria and other organisms in the mouth. They can neutralise organisms that cause bad breath and they can prevent some sugars form turning into acid, which can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities.

Dark chocolate contains Flavonoids which have been shown to slow tooth decay. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants. These are beneficial to overall health in many ways but when it comes to oral health, having higher levels in your saliva helps fight gum disease. It is made up of around 70% cocoa and only 30% powdered milk and sugar. This drastically reduces the negative effect that it could have on tooth enamel when compared to milk chocolate.

When we consume sugar, bacteria in the mouth break it down and produce acid which attacks the tooth enamel.  However, decay can be 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.

As with everything in life remember that moderation is the key!