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Is Chocolate Bad for Your Teeth?

Everyone likes chocolate, right? We thought chocolate would be a fun topic to talk about for our first blog! We are going to discuss the question of whether or not chocolate is bad for your teeth.
There are many different types of chocolate: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. You might be glad (and surprised) to hear that there is positive data for consuming chocolate. It can affect your body’s health positively, as well as your oral health! While eating too much chocolate can be bad for your health, there actually can be some positives when it comes to your teeth.

Studies, performed over the course of 18 years, monitored participants who ate chocolate every day. The results found that the chocolate eaters actually performed better in cognitive tests than those who didn’t eat chocolate often. That seems like a great thing, right? Who wouldn’t want to eat something that tastes good and also helps your brain? Here are some explanations of the different types of chocolate and how they affect your teeth:

 

Milk Chocolate
Milk Chocolate is the most widely eaten type of chocolate, but milk chocolate is bad for your teeth. The reason? Milk chocolate has more sugar in it than dark chocolate, and much more than raw or unprocessed chocolate. Sugar is not always great for your teeth. Milk chocolate is made from cocoa (chocolate), sugar, and powdered milk. Milk chocolate is about 20-30% real cocoa, with the rest being sugar and powdered milk. The higher sugar content is what causes tooth decay and cavities.

 

Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a much better choice when it comes to the health of your teeth, and some studies have even found that it can be a cavity fighter. This doesn’t mean you can rely on it to fight cavities, so still consult a dentist and get regular cleanings. The reason behind those findings; however, come from the complex compounds used to create dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has polyphenols in it. These chemicals actually fight bacteria and organisms in the mouth. They can also help with bad breath and prevent some types of sugar from becoming acid. Those acids will break down the enamel of your teeth to cause cavities and decay. Dark chocolate has flavonoids, which have been shown to fight tooth decay. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to your health in many different ways. It has been shown that having a larger amount of those antioxidants in your saliva can help fight gum disease. Dark chocolate is known as the “real” chocolate and normally has 70% cocoa with 30% powdered milk and sugar. This much smaller amount of sugar and powdered milk greatly reduces the negative impact on your teeth.

 

Sugar Content breakdown
According to the USDA, here are the amounts of sugar per ounce of chocolate. While the numbers may not vary greatly, a small difference can have a large impact on your teeth.
– White Chocolate, 17 grams per ounce
– Milk Chocolate, 15 grams per ounce
– Dark Chocolate, 14 grams per ounce

 

Tooth decay and how to prevent it
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in your mouth turning sugar into acid. This acid eats at the surface of the teeth to cause cavities and decay. It takes time for decay to happen; however, you can prevent it by eating less sugary foods and drinks. Also, make sure you are brushing and flossing daily. Schedule an appointment to visit East Center Dental here in Warsaw, Indiana! Having check-ups at least twice a year will catch any issues before they become severe. Regular dental cleanings will remove plaque and tarter buildup. To keep your teeth healthy, eat sweets in moderation; and the same goes for dark chocolate!