A dentist recommending chocolate? Yes, that’s right, the news you always wanted to hear!
Recent studies emerging from Japan, England, and the U.S. support the fact that chocolate is actually an effective ingredient in fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay.
I must interject though at this point before you go and grab the closest bar of Galaxy or Dairy Milk that we are referring to high quality dark chocolate. Milk chocolate we can’t be so positive about!
And is the crux of this good news. Compounds in chocolate may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers are predicting that one day, the compound found in chocolate called CBH will be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste – how crazy is this!?!
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids, which eat away at the tooth’s surface and cause cavities. Compounds in the cocoa bean husk have an anti-bacterial effect and also are anti acids fighting against plaque. This makes chocolate less harmful than many other sweet foods your dentist might warn you against because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.
This research has even revealed that the cocoa extract is more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities. This compound has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will it will take another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale (in the form of mouthwashes and toothpastes) – so don’t get excited just yet.
Now, before you reach for your favourite chocolatey snack, read on…
For the best therapeutic effect (yes, I’m still talking about chocolate), it’s best to chew on cacao nibs. Most will find this option pretty bad to taste!
The second best choice, is dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving – organic if possible. Be aware that chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly.
Do all of this for your teeth, but you can actually enjoy the other benefits dark chocolate offers to boot – mood elevation and better blood flow!
With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood. Chocolate has over 300 chemical compounds in it, making it one of the most complex foods we know of, and I predict that many new compounds in chocolate beneficial to us will surface over time and cement its nutritional five star rating.