It’s easy to assume that chocolate falls under the broader category of sweets that simply aren’t ideal for promoting good oral health. In truth, there’s no getting around the fact that sugar, in general, isn’t necessarily good for your overall health, or for your teeth.
However, not all chocolate is created equal. Most people tend to have a personal preference when it comes to chocolate. Some like the sweetness of white or milk chocolate, while others lean toward the rich, bittersweet appeal of darker chocolates (70% cacao and above). What many people don’t realize is that different types of chocolate can affect teeth in different ways.
You might be surprised to learn that some chocolate can actually provide health benefits, as well as benefits for your teeth. Here’s what you need to know about how different types of chocolate could affect your oral health.
White and Milk Chocolate
These two types of chocolate tend to taste the sweetest and that’s because they are full of sugar and milkfat that taste delicious. Unfortunately, this also makes them worse for your teeth. Sugar is a wonderful source of fuel for bacteria in your mouth. It can increase bacteria, as well as the acid they produce as a byproduct.
This, in turn, forms a film on teeth that attacks enamel and acts as the precursor to plaque and tartar buildup. Over time, conditions can worsen until you’re dealing with serious problems like gingivitis and periodontitis.
Of course, it’s not all bad. Cocoa beans have some antibacterial properties, which can actually help to prevent plaque. However, white chocolate has no cocoa, making it the worst of the bunch, and milk chocolate has so much sugar that the cocoa content and potential benefits can’t really compete with the drawbacks.
This is where you’re going to get some good news, because dark chocolate is high in cacao and low in sugar, providing you with the most potential benefits. In addition to the antibacterial properties in cocoa, dark chocolate also features a compound called CBH that has been found to strengthen enamel, which means it could actually be good for your teeth.
Like most things in life, moderation is the key. It is generally recommended that you consume no more than 3-4 ounces of dark chocolate daily to gain benefits to your teeth and your overall health. Beyond this, you’re probably doing more harm than good.