I love chocolate. Not only is it a good snack, but it is also good for your teeth. The cocoa bean in chocolate has tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that all benefit your mouth and teeth. They do this by preventing bacteria from sticking to your teeth, neutralizing the microorganisms that cause bad breath, preventing infections in your gums, and battling tooth decay. What’s more is that because chocolate has all these antioxidants, it can also reduce inflammation in the body and work to prevent gum disease.
You can’t just eat any chocolate, though, since the sugars added to some will effectively offset all of these great effects. The best kind of chocolate for preventing tooth decay is dark chocolate. It is the least processed and closest to the cocoa bean. You can find tooth-friendly dark chocolate at your local grocery store, and many bars show their cocoa percentage clearly on the label (the higher the percentage, the better it is for your teeth).
So, why am I thinking about chocolate? Valentine’s Day, of course! Many people see chocolate as a symbol of love, and chocolate sales on this holiday are some of the highest out of the entire year. But besides eating candy and giving gifts, there is something else that we traditionally like to do more of on this day. Kissing! And just like chocolate, kissing can have its upside, when it comes to dental health.
That’s right. While we all know that some diseases can be spread through kissing, most people ignore that there are some good health effects as well (and I’m not just talking about psychological health). According to the American Dental Association, kissing is nature’s cleansing process. A recent article asserts that “kissing stimulates saliva, which washes out the mouth and helps remove the cavity-causing food particles that accumulate after eating. Saliva’s mineral ions can even promote repair of small lesions in tooth enamel.” So, who needs a dentist when you can just…
Wait. Wait. Wait. Let’s back up here a minute and realize that we do not eat chocolate for the health benefits and we definitely don’t kiss to improve oral hygiene. But maybe this info will help you have more of a guilt-free holiday.
Happy Valentine’s Day!…read more