Everyone knows how much dentists hate chocolate. After all, chocolate causes tooth decay. However, that conventional wisdom is not entirely accurate. While chocolate is not a health food, certain varieties of it, eaten in moderation, do provide some health benefits. One of those benefits, believe it or not, is fighting cavities. Your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke, discusses just how chocolate might be part of the solution against tooth decay.

The Cocoa Bean—A Natural Antioxidant

Chocolate is derived by the cocoa bean. The bean is filled with healthful antioxidants that are known to fight tooth decay. Tannins are known to prevent and neutralize harmful mouth bacteria and prevent them from producing the acid that is what is ultimately responsible for cavities. Flavonoids are known to slow the process of tooth decay, and polyphenols can fight the bacteria that are responsible for bad breath.

Not All Chocolate is Created Equal

Before running down to the store to stock up on candy bars, however, you should know about a few very important caveats. The cocoa bean is not readily available for purchase, and even if you did to eat one, you would find it far bitterer than the average piece of chocolate. Most chocolate sold in this country has been processed and has sugar added to it. The sugar, of course, is not tooth-friendly. In addition, as chocolate is processed, other ingredients, such as milk, can be added that can crowd out the healthy antioxidants. The more processed the chocolate, the fewer health benefits it can provide. Unfortunately, most of the chocolate sold is milk chocolate, which is very processed. Instead, seek out dark chocolate, preferably dark chocolate that is at least 70{dcbe0cd52ce35e2f156887e14605e24111ce99c14f01d3853732956d43020bdd} cocoa. Dark chocolate is less processed and contains less sugar than the milk chocolate variety.

Chocolate is Not a Health Food

The recommended dosage of dark chocolate is one once a day. That is about the equivalent of six Hershey Kisses.  Eat more than that, and the benefits begin to be outweighed by the calories and sugar. Also, many of the benefits of chocolate can also be found in fruits and vegetables, which also contain vitamins and fiber not found in chocolate. Fruits and vegetables also contain far fewer calories than the same amount of chocolate. Chocolate can a wonderful, even healthful treat, but only in moderation.

See Your Waco Dentist for Other Tooth Decay Fighting Tips

To find out other ways to keep your teeth healthy, or schedule your six-month checkup, schedule an appointment by calling our Waco dentist office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, the 76712 zip code, and surrounding communities.