DARK CHOCOLATE is GOOD for your teeth! Dark chocolate is a far better alternative than other sugary and sticky desserts. Good quality dark chocolate has traces of cocoa bean husk, which is a great source of antioxidants for the whole body.
But wait, research shows that dark chocolate also has anti-cariogenic factors, which means that it can protect your beautiful teeth from getting cavities! Sounds too good to be true, right? But here’s the research to back it up!
Research Behind Chocolate & Teeth
The cocoa bean husk found in dark chocolate contains tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids (antioxidants), which all play a positive role in the mouth. They prevent bad bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Moreover, they neutralize the oral environment by preventing bad bacteria from producing acids — acid which can eventually dissolve away your tooth structure.
Another recent study showed that an organic component of cocoa, Theobromine, enhances the potential of remineralization of tooth enamel, making your teeth more resistant to getting cavities.
Pick the Best Dark Chocolate
- Choose dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cocoa or higher.
- Raw chocolate is the best choice – it’s less processed and it contains the most amount of antioxidants. Though, I must admit that the bitterness of raw chocolate isn’t my favourite …yet. But dark chocolate with 80-90% of cocoa is still a great choice.
- Try to pick organic dark chocolate
- The darker the chocolate (higher percentage), the higher the antioxidant level, which makes it better for your teeth. Over time, ease yourself into 80-90% cocoa chocolate – trust me, it’s delicious after the first bite.
- Find dark chocolate that has NO added sugar. However, it can have natural sugars or artificial sweeteners, but ideally less than 6 grams of “total sugar” per serving.
- Always read the nutritional label because some dark chocolates can be deceiving. Sometimes, the manufacturers add refined sugars to dark chocolate, which defeats the health benefit of eating dark chocolate. Thus, it’s important to buy dark chocolate which has no added sugar. Below is an example of dark chocolate which should be avoided, due to the “Added Sugar” content, highlighted in the photo.
Recommended Serving of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is high in calories, so always eat it in moderation. The recommended chocolate intake is 1 oz per day, which is approximately equivalent to 5-6 Hershey kisses.
When & How To Eat Dark Chocolate
- The best time to eat chocolate is immediately after your meal, NOT in between meals. Try your best to not snack on chocolate in between your meals because it will lead to your teeth constantly being in a sugary & acidic environment. This will cause your tooth enamel to dissolve over time, or cause cavities.
- SECRET TIP: After eating chocolate, wash away the dark chocolate by drinking water. It’s important that you swish water vigorously around your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. This will get rid of any chocolate that’s stuck in your teeth AND it will neutralize your mouth after the sugar-attack. On a side note, it’s okay if you want the taste of chocolate to linger around your mouth for a few minutes, but don’t wait an hour before drinking water.
- AVOID eating chocolate right before bed and then immediately going to sleep. The chocolate will sit on your teeth for hours overnight and create acid, which will eventually cause tooth decay (cavities).
I don’t recommend binge eating chocolate while watching Netflix. However, if you are a chocolate addict like myself — then simply choose healthy dark chocolate and eat it at an appropriate time. This practice will keep your teeth looking BEAUTIFUL and your sweet tooth cravings SATISFIED. If you want to learn more about sugar, and how to incorporate healthy sugars into your diet, then click here to read our latest article on “Sugar-Free vs No Added Sugar”.
Written by: Dr. Sanya Arora (Doctor of Dental Surgery)
- Amaechi BT, Porteous N, Ramalingam K, Mensinkai PK, Ccahuana Vasquez RA, Sadeghpour A, et al.Remineralization of Artificial Enamel Lesions by Theobromine. Caries Res 2013;47:399-405.
- Ferrazzano G.F, Ivana Amato, AnielloIngenito, Antonino De Natale, Antonino Anticariogenic effects of polyphenols from plant stimulant beverages (cocoa, coffee, tea). 2009;80: 255-262.
- VenkateshBabu NS, Vivek DK, Ambika G. Comparative evaluation of chlorhexidine mouthrinse versus cacao bean husk extract mouthrinse as antimicrobial agents in children. European Archives of Pediatric Dentistry. 2011;12(5).