ONE STOP FOR DENTAL HEALTH



Friday, July 15, 2011

DARK CHOCOLATES AND TEETH


eating dark chocolateFor all those Chocoholics out there, here is great news coming up for you. It is been believed from ages that chocolates are harmful for teeth and they are the main culprits for tooth cavities. As a dental practitioner even I believe in it and am prone to suggest the patients to keep away this tasty treat. But, recent studies have proven that dark chocolates are actually good for teeth and in fact prevent the tooth decay. Unbelievable, isn’t it? But yes, it is true.


Dark chocolates are the chocolates without milk added to it and these are the only real chocolates. They are bitter in taste and this bitterness increases with the cocoa added to it.

Chocolates are rich in cocoa butter, which coats the teeth making it less likely to cause tooth decay. The main culprit for tooth decay is the fermentable carbohydrates that are sugar and starch. Though chocolate contains these fermentable carbohydrates, the cocoa butter present in chocolates will prevent the adhesion of bacteria to the teeth.

 These carbohydrates are broken down into acid by the action of bacteria and this acid dissolves the tooth surface causing cavity. Chocolates also have anti-bacterial property that can fight effectively against dental plaque. Phenols present in the chocolates inhibit the growth of bacteria which are responsible for plaque formation. 

The other health benefits of these phenols are anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. These phenols act as deoxidizing agents and prevent clogging of arteries thus preventing heart attacks. They reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and lowers blood pressure.

Of course, chocolates do contain sugars and they can contribute to cavity formation in tooth. But, these anti-bacterial agents present in chocolates offset its high sugar levels. Moreover the sugars melt quickly in mouth leaving less time for the bacteria to attack the teeth.

However too much eating of chocolates can cause health problems as the cocoa butter contain saturated fat that can increase the cholesterol levels in blood contributing to heart problems and also obesity.

Chocolate candies which are rich in sugars are definitely harmful to teeth. These sugars are the main culprits that stick to the teeth and later lead to tooth decay. It is always advisable to eat chocolates prior to eating food as later when you have food the stickiness will be washed down. It is always better to eat chocolates at one go  and brushing teeth after eating chocolates will clear off the remnants of chocolate stuck to the teeth. So always avoid eating sticky chocolates.

Lastly, nothing we eat could replace proper brushing and flossing regularly.

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