Great news: Chocolate is good for teeth!
Recent studies done in Japan, England and the U.S. have found that dark chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque and tooth decay. Because the cocoa husk – the outer part of the bean – has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and can fight plaque and other damaging agents, by preventing bacteria from sticking to teeth, chocolate neutralizes the microorganisms that cause bad breathe, preventing gum disease.
These studies have also found that compounds in chocolate may be more efficient at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers are predicting that one day, the compound found in chocolate (called CBH) will feature strongly in mouthwashes and toothpaste. CBH, a white crystalline powder with similar chemical makeup as caffeine, hardens the tooth enamel, making users less vulnerable to tooth decay. This compound has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will take a few years before the product is approved for human consumption in the form of mouthwash and toothpaste. In the meantime, we can administer this compound through the ingestion of dark chocolate.
Unfortunately for many chocolate lovers, not all chocolate helps to fight cavities. In fact, the sugar added to some chocolates could have an entirely different effect. The only chocolate that is effective in fighting cavities is dark chocolate because it is the least processed and the closest to the cocoa bean. When shopping for chocolates, ensure that you know the cocoa percentage (usually found on the chocolate wrapper). The higher the percentage, the better the chocolate is for your teeth.
Not only does chocolate contain antioxidants that can reduce inflammation in other parts of the body, such as arteries and the heart, it can also improve your mood.
For more information on the dental benefits of dark chocolate, contact a dentist in Cape Town.