Dark chocolate is decadent, delicious and…Good for your teeth? While it may come as a surprise, despite its sugar content this sweet treat has hidden oral health benefits.
You’ve probably heard that, as far as indulging goes, dark chocolate is one of the better options. Not only is it less sugary than most sweet treats, it’s also rich in antioxidants which may help promote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
Much less widely known is the fact that dark chocolate is relatively tooth-friendly too! The cocoa bean, which chocolate is made from, contains tannins, flavonoids, polyphenols and CBH, four nutritional components that can have positive effects on teeth, the mouth and gums. Read on to find out how.
Tannins are an organic antioxidants found in some plants that are partially responsible for dark chocolate’s bitter notes. They also help prevent cavity-forming bacteria from latching on to your teeth, binding to the bacteria before they have a chance to form plaque.
While many candies cling to teeth and cause rapid decay themselves, dark chocolate is less sticky and less sugary, meaning that, in addition to the tannins, the chances of you developing a cavities from the occasional piece of dark chocolate is slim to none.
Dark chocolate contains the compound CBH, a white crystalline powder similar to caffeine, which helps harden tooth enamel. Some theorize it may strengthen enamel even better than fluoride, but this has not yet been thoroughly tested.
Flavanoids, another plant-based group of antioxidants found in dark chocolate, are thought to slow tooth decay, preventing some of the wear and tear we all face as we get older.
Polymphenols are natural chemicals that can help decrease the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth, preventing gum disease and other common issues.
It’s important to remember that, even with its pros, dark chocolate is best enjoyed in smaller quantities. You should also be sure to buy “real”, less processed dark chocolate with a high cocoa content to really reap the benefits.
That being said, it’s certainly a better option than most candies! Even your dentist may indulge every once and a while.