Chocolate is one of Australia’s favourite sweet treats! The decadence of a chocolate bar not only tastes amazing, but it also releases endorphins that make us happy! However, will you be feeling happy after eating too much? It’s no secret that chocolate should be enjoyed in moderation, but is it really that bad for us, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth?

Tooth decay is a common occurrence in both adults and children’s teeth, but it is also very preventable. It happens when sugar sits on the teeth for too long. It turns to acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. This can lead to decay, tooth sensitivity, cavities and worse. It can be prevented with regular brushing and flossing.

But now is time for chocolate lovers to rejoice as there may be an even more effective way involving the sweet treat to help prevent that decay from happening! Recent studies have shown that chocolate might not be as bad as many make it out to be. Research done in the US, the UK and Japan all showed the same thing: that chocolate can actually help in the fight against cavities, plaque, and tooth decay. It’s the compounds found in it that help ward off decay.

The catch? This is only for dark chocolate. Milk chocolate has more sugar content which will actually cause tooth decay, especially if sugar is left to sit on the teeth for a while before brushing. There is usually only around 20-30% of cocoa content in milk chocolate with the rest of it being milk and powdered sugar. White chocolate is even worse. It is made with very little cocoa butter, milk and lots of sugar.

Does this mean we should go stock up on dark chocolate? No – Any family dental practice will tell you that chocolate is still a sugary treat and should only be enjoyed in moderation, especially the the milk version at 15 grams of sugar per ounce. Go for that dark chocolate that has a lower sugar content. The benefits of dark chocolate can be experienced with only small amounts per day. Try to find at least 70% cocoa content with no more than eight grams of sugar. Organic is good too. If you can get your hands on raw chocolate, that is even better. It will have the most compounds and antioxidants. It’s not only good for your teeth, but it is considered a “superfood” with the antioxidants with the added bonus of how it makes us feel afterward.

Don’t think you are safe because you like your dark chocolate! There are many factors that can contribute to tooth decay. Dark chocolate, as amazing as it is, can still leave some staining on the teeth as well. Be sure to continue brushing and flossing as well as visiting your family dental practice regularly.

If you have any concerns about your or your family’s dental health, then contact JC Dental. Don’t wait until things get worse as any damage could possibly become worse, but JC Dental will assess your concerns and provide the best dental care available.

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