Can chocolates, the feel good food, be actually good for you? Well, if the latest research is anything to go by, they definitely can. According to the research, the dental decay from chocolate is far less than that caused by other sweet foods. Not only that, some researchers have found that chocolate can actually protect against tooth decay.
Fighting tooth decay
- Parts of the cocoa bean, including the skin and the exterior of the bean, have anti-bacterial properties that fight against plaque and other teeth damaging agents.
- Polyphenols, a kind of antioxidants present in chocolate, turn off the enzyme responsible for turning sugar into polysaccharose within the mouth. Polysaccharose acts as the binding agent that is responsible for dental plaque to stick to teeth. Without polysaccharose plaque is lessened.
- Acid produced from sugar fermentation in the mouth leads to damage of the tooth enamel. Cocoa and chocolate contain compounds that offset the acidity produced by their sugar content.
- Researchers have also found that cocoa and chocolate reduce the demineralization of teeth, an activity that causes dental caries.
- One of the biggest cavity causing culprits is fermentable carbohydrates (FCs). Even though chocolate contains FCs, the cocoa butter in the product coats the teeth and provides a protective layer against decay.
- Research reports indicate that milk chocolate is high in protein, phosphate, calcium and mineral content, all of which protect the tooth enamel.
- Due to the natural fat content of milk chocolate, it clears out of the mouth faster than other candies.
All these factors make chocolates less cariogenic and make them the type of snack which is least likely to cause dental decay. In fact, scientists think that one day chocolate components may be used to make toothpaste and mouthwash. However, dentists’ advice remains the same: “If people want to eat sweet candy and drinks; they should limit it, brush teeth twice a day and visit the dentist regularly.”