Although it may seem unbelievable, there is some evidence to suggest that chocolate could be a superfood for your mouth.
Recent research released in England, Japan and the US indicates that eating chocolate could actually help reduce tooth decay. There’s even a suggestion that compounds within chocolate may replace fluoride one day.
Antioxidants do the trick
The theory that supports these findings is quite simple: chocolate bean husks contain antioxidants. When we eat sugary foods, bacteria convert the sugars into acid, which in turn attacks the teeth causing decay and cavities. Anti-oxidants attack this harmful bacteria and reduce the damage it can cause to the tooth enamel.
The health benefits of chocolate don’t end at stopping tooth decay. Last year, researchers at Warwick University Medical School also found that consumption of chocolate was linked to reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzyme levels.
Furthermore, cocoa butter, also found in chocolate can actually help prevent the build-up of plaque by forming a temporary layer on the teeth.
A word of caution
Before you start tucking in to all those Easter eggs, a word of caution though. Most chocolate is heavily mixed with sugar. If you’ve ever tried a chocolate bar with a high cocoa content you’ll know how bitter the raw product is. Most chocolate is heavily mixed with sugar in order to make it more palatable so any good you’re doing could be easily undone by eating too much of the wrong type of product.
If you want to get the benefits of chocolate without risking damaging your teeth then it would be best to consider the following:
- Go for dark chocolate. Generally, the lighter it is the more other ingredients have been added, usually sugar. As a rule, if it’s sweet it’s probably doing more harm than good.
- Restrict the amount. All commercially available chocolate contains some sugar and overdoing consumption will only have a negative on your oral and general health.
- Don’t use chocolate as a reason to skimp on brushing for two minutes at least twice a day.
- Don’t regard chocolate as a route to good oral health. It’s just less harmful than other types of sweets and candy.
So, don’t avoid the Easter eggs entirely this year. Ask for dark chocolate ones and perhaps make them last a bit longer than a couple of days and then you can rest assured that you’re minimising any potential long-term damage to your oral health.