When you think of chocolate, you probably think of candy bars at the checkout line and therefore the kind of chocolate that dentists advise against. However, there is now research that shows that dark chocolate is actually good for your teeth. Here, we’ll explain how dark chocolate is good for your teeth and exactly what kind of chocolate you should reach for at the store.
There have been recent studies that show that dark chocolate is actually very effective at fighting tooth decay. The compound in dark chocolate called CBH has been shown to have an antibacterial effect that can fight against plaque, harden tooth enamel, and make your teeth less susceptible to cavities. Dark chocolate also contains flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins which are all antioxidants that can benefit your mouth and teeth. Tannins inhibit bacteria from sticking to your teeth while polyphenols neutralize bacteria and other organisms that cause bad breath and lead to cavities. Flavonoids also help to slow tooth decay.
Because dark chocolate is the least processed version of the cocoa bean, it’s also the healthiest. Milk chocolate is often more sugary while white chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all. For the healthiest option, cacao nibs are a great way to get your chocolate in without all the extra added sugar that often comes in other chocolate bars. Cacao nibs are created from the cocoa bean and are much less processed than other forms of chocolate and therefore have a lost more antioxidants and CBH compound than chocolate that is more processed. These are also a lot more bitter so if you can’t handle the cacao nibs, try reaching for a dark chocolate bar that is at least 70 percent cocoa that has less than 8 grams of sugar per serving.