Thousands of pounds of candy are handed out in the Illinois Valley every Halloween and young children, and adults, eagerly scarf it down until their bellies ache. We’ve long been told that chocolate is bad for your teeth and is a leading cause of cavities, but how true is that old adage. It has nuggets of truth, but there are some benefits as well.
Not All Chocolates Are Equal
It’s not as easy as saying chocolate is good or bad for you because there are different types of chocolate. The most common is milk chocolate, which is a mix of cocoa powder, powdered milk and sugar. It’s the most common type used for candy and cookies. It has a velvety melt in your mouth quality and a sweet taste.
White chocolate uses cocoa butter, sugar, milk and many times vanilla extract to create chocolate that is white or yellowish in appearance. The solids from the cocoa bean are separated and only the cocoa better is in the chocolate, losing many of the helpful contents commonly found in chocolate.
Dark chocolate also contains sugar and milk but is also more chocolate from the cocoa bean. Dark chocolate has more natural chocolate solids and less sugar causing it to have a bitter taste.
The Culprit Isn’t the Chocolate
Do you see a common factor in all the chocolates? Sugar. Milk, white and even dark chocolate has sugar in it, and this is what gives chocolate such a bad rap. Your mouth is filled with bacteria that take the sugar in your foods and turn it into an acid that causes tooth decay.
Eating milk chocolate and white chocolate, which are filled with sugar, creates cavities and causes other dental problems. Dark chocolate has varying degrees of pureness and less sugar than its counterparts. This makes it the best alternative, but the taste is so different many people don’t get the same enjoyment from a bar of dark chocolate that they do from milk chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Has Dental Benefits
It might not taste the same as milk chocolate, but dark chocolate can help fight gum disease and improve overall dental health. It contains polyphenols that have been shown to reduce the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which leads to less sugar being converted to an acid.
It’s also full of antioxidants. They provide many health benefits overall including anti-aging, but also helps fight gum disease. It doesn’t stop there. Dark Chocolate also contains flavonoids, a group of phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables. The ones found in dark chocolate have been found to slow tooth decay.
The key to candy consumption this Halloween, or any day, is moderation. If you’re craving chocolate, then try 70 percent dark mixed with oranges or other naturally sweet fruits to stave off the bitterness.
Did you overdo it on the candy this Halloween season? Call A Lifetime of Smiles today for a routine cleaning or any other dental issues you’re experiencing.