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Truth Behind My Smile

Making the right chocolate choices

March 31, 2010

Approximately 80 million Easter eggs will be consumed this weekend….it’s a mind blowing, tooth decaying amount that just shows what a sweet tooth we have in the UK. This got us thinking about making small changes that can make a big difference to our teeth.

Dentists would agree that an occasional chocolate binge isn’t that bad for our teeth – if it’s consumed in one hit, say after dinner, then it’s not too bad…..it’s the constant snacking on sweets that drives dentists to reach for the drill. So that’s the first small change to consider.

The second change is the type of chocolate that you choose. Milk chocolate tends to contain more sugar, as does the cheaper versions. Upscale your choccy choices and going for a dark chocolate is an all round improvement. In fact, some say dark chocolate is actually good for your teeth. A study carried out by research scientists at Osaka University in Japan found that parts of the cocoa bean can help fight bacteria in the mouth. Polyphenolen found in the cocoa bean husk has anti-bacterial properties….there is even speculation this ingredient could be used in mouth washes or other dental care products. Another study, this time by a doctoral candidate at Tulane University, showed that a compound in chocolate called theobromine might help to harden tooth enamel.

Neither ingredient is active enough in dark chocolate to make an improvement to your dental health, but the lower sugar levels alone to make it a good choice.

The other good news is that because chocolate melts away in the mouth its actually a better choice than other sweets such as jellies or toffees which tend to get stuck on teeth and linger in the mouth for longer….so crack the Easter egg but ditch the sweeties inside…..and opt for a dark chocolate egg rather than milk…..best wishes from the Easter Bunny!

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