Chocolate vs. Teeth

The holiday season is usually when we consume the most chocolate. From October till about mid-February, it’s a chocolate fest! You may still be rationing out the trick-or-treat candy to your children, or perhaps the chocolaty treats at your office Christmas party are your weakness. It’s only after the chocolate consumption that we start to consider the effects chocolate has on our teeth. So let’s answer the question once and for all. Is chocolate bad for your teeth?

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is a chocolate made of powdered milk, cocoa, and sugar. This is by far the most popular type of chocolate because of its sweet flavor. Unfortunately, it’s also the most harmful to your teeth. Milk chocolate contains more sugar than dark, raw, or unprocessed chocolate. On average, it contains 15-16 grams of sugar per ounce. The sugar in milk chocolate increases the likelihood of cavities and tooth decay.

Dark Chocolate

As far as your teeth are concerned, dark chocolate is the best choice. It only has about 14 grams of sugar per ounce, so compared to milk chocolate sugar content dark chocolate is the better option. There are also studies that show that dark chocolate contains certain chemicals that help fight cavities. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants. Polyphenols help fight the excess growth of bacteria in the mouth. They can also help prevent sugars from turning into acids, which strip the tooth enamel. Studies show that flavonoids slow the tooth decay process. Antioxidants can benefit the body’s overall health, but higher concentrations in the saliva has shown to help fight gum disease.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs as a result of oral bacteria turning sugar into acid. The acids start to eat away at enamel and cause cavities and decay. The risk of cavities and tooth decay increases as the amount of sugar in the mouth increases. Constantly eating sugary foods, like chocolate, will make you experience more tooth decay. To prevent tooth decay, you’ll need to eat sugary foods in moderation. Brushing and flossing daily (sometimes after meals) is essential as well. Most importantly, regularly visiting a dentist will help ensure that your teeth stay healthy.

In short, the answer is: chocolate in moderation isn’t bad for your teeth. If you make sure not to eat too much and regularly brush, then chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, can even be good for your oral health. If you want to learn more about how to keep your teeth and gums healthy, contact Barganier and LeCroy, DMD PC.