In honor of Halloween this weekend, we’d like to share some good news with our patients here in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Like most people, you’ll probably enjoy your fair share of sweets while celebrating this spooky holiday. Dentists will typically warn their patients about the potentially devastating effects all that Halloween candy can have on their teeth. While this is true, we also have some great news for our chocolate-loving patients out there. Studies show that dark chocolate can actually help fight cavities, tooth decay, and plaque in the mouth. Now before you get too excited, the benefits of chocolate can be entirely dependent on the amount of sugar in it and the amount it has been processed. And like any good thing, moderation is the key to enjoying all the oral health benefits of dark chocolate. Eating piles of chocolate will simply result in cavities, tooth decay, and even tooth loss if you leave the problem untreated for too long. For individuals faced with this difficult predicament, we offer high-quality dental implants to help you get a healthy, complete smile back. To avoid this oral health risks, simply eat these sweets in moderation. Dental implant provider Dr. Daniel Fenton is blogging from his practice in Fort Lauderdale, FL to share the benefits of dark chocolate.
Dark Chocolate for Your Oral Health
Chocolate has a pretty bad reputation for causing tooth decay and other oral problems. That’s because the excess sugar found in chocolate attacks our tooth enamel and begins to eat away at our teeth until it reaches the pulp, the center of the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves. Tooth enamel is important because it’s our tooth’s first line of defense against the acid that will form when sugar and bacteria in our mouth work together. Once the enamel has been eaten away, tooth decay will quickly reach the center of the tooth. Once the tooth pulp is exposed, individuals will experience pain and tooth sensitivity because the nerves of the tooth are exposed.
Although high sugar levels can be harmful to our teeth, there are plenty of components of dark chocolate that can help our teeth. Studies have shown that there are aspects of chocolate that may even be more effective at fighting tooth decay than fluoride. Fluoride is used for fighting tooth decay because it helps make teeth more resilient at acids and bacteria that can attack our teeth. This component of dark chocolate called CBH has been predicted to be included in mouthwashes and toothpaste one day. Cocoa bean husks contain compounds that have antibacterial properties to fight against plaque and bacteria in your mouth. CBH is a helpful component of dark chocolate because it helps harden tooth enamel. Like fluoride, strengthening enamel with CBH will make your teeth more resilient to acids that cause tooth decay. Dark chocolate has also been shown to help reduce inflammation, which can be great for patients dealing with gum inflammation due to gingivitis or periodontitis. CBHl won’t actually be added to toothpaste and mouthwashes just yet. Researchers plan to keep studying this product for a few more years before it would be approved for human use.
Although products containing components from dark chocolate won’t be available for a few more years, you can still enjoy some of the benefits by eating 3-4 oz of chocolate a day. It’s best to chew on cacao nibs to enjoy all the benefits of dark chocolate without the harmful effects of sugar. Another option would be a dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams per serving and less processing to keep the antioxidant power intact. Remember, the more sugar in dark chocolate, the less likely the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages.
Other Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate isn’t just great for your smile. There have been plenty of other studies that show dark chocolate can also benefit our overall health. Here are some of the health benefits you can enjoy from dark chocolate:
- It helps heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, and preventing the formation of blood clots
- Dark chocolate helps reduce the risk of stroke
- It helps improve your mood and cognitive health
- It contains antioxidants that can protect you from cancer and slow down the aging process
- Dark chocolate also contains vitamins and minerals that can help other various aspects of your overall health
What to Avoid This Halloween
As you can tell, dark chocolate has a ton of great benefits for your oral health and overall health. This Halloween, opt for some dark chocolate to give your health a boost. If you plan on eating other types of candy this weekend, keep in mind that many of them can damage your teeth and gums. Here’s a brief overview of what types of candy you should avoid for the sake of your oral health:
- Chewy or Sticky Candy: Any candy that will easily stick to the teeth or get stuck in between teeth can cause a considerable amount of damage. That’s because exposing your teeth to enamel-eating acids for a longer amount of time will cause more damage.
- Sour Candy: Acid will already eat away at your teeth because bacteria will break down sugar present in candy to create the acidic substance. Sour candy is even more acidic and causes damage to your teeth before the sugar is even processed into acid.
- Lollipops: This timeless candy staple is awful for your teeth for the same reason sticky candy is. The more exposure to the candy, the more damage to your teeth. Lollipops will often be sucked on for a long amount of time, leaving your teeth exposed to the harmful effects of sugar.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Fenton
Dark chocolate can be a great way to indulge in sweets in a guilt-free way. Remember, excess consumption of dark chocolate can cancel out all the oral health benefits and actually cause you more problems. If you’re currently dealing with the repercussions of tooth loss, we can help! We provide dental implants that will look, feel, and act just like natural teeth. With a natural look and an impressive lasting power, more and more of our patients in Fort Lauderdale, FL are choosing dental implants for their tooth restoration treatment. For more information, contact our office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.