Valentine’s Day sees chocolate sales surge. ABC News reported that for 2017, Americans spent $1.7 billion for February chocolate and candy. Japan was not far behind. Despite a much smaller population, Japanese sales totaled $1.2 billion for Valentine’s chocolate alone! What do dentists think of all this candy buying? The Delta Dental insurance company reports that 80% of the dentists who give out candy only give out chocolate! Therefore, the Sacramento Dentistry Group has some thoughts for our readers about chocolate.
Chocolate is Not All Bad
There are some good news items about chocolate, especially the dark variety. First, it contains a good supply of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids. These have an anti-inflammatory effect, relax the blood vessels, and reduce the risk of diabetes, according to a Yale University study.
Second, chocolate contains significant amounts of magnesium and iron, making it helpful for maintaining a balanced diet of minerals.
Third, a study of over two thousand individuals found that regularly eating some chocolate significantly reduced the likelihood of having arterial blockages, compared to people who ate no chocolate. This is especially amazing, given the high fat content of most chocolates!
Fourth, chocolate dissolves faster than other candies, meaning it spends less time on the teeth feeding bacteria that cause gum disease or tooth decay.
Finally, some studies even indicate that chocolate retards the growth of the primary oral bacterium responsible for cavities, but that does not mean that eating chocolate is a cavity-free guarantee!
Eating Chocolate Responsibly
Responsible chocolate eating is probably the last thing most people want to discuss on a holiday, but leave it to your Sacramento dentist to give you some important reminders!
Chocolate does contain a lot of sugar, especially milk chocolate. And the benefits mentioned above generally do not apply to chocolates filled with sugary confections, like caramel. Solid chocolate is best, from a health perspective.
Also as mentioned, chocolate is fatty. You can easily gain weight by eating too much chocolate, and excessive weight gain brings its own health risks.
According to the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, the antioxidant compounds in chocolate, like those in tea and red wine, can also stain your teeth. If a white smile is important to you, minimizing chocolate consumption may be necessary. And while white chocolate may avoid this problem, it also lacks the health benefits of dark and milk chocolate.
Although chocolate does dissolve faster than other candies, you still need to brush your teeth. No food or beverage is a substitute for a minimum of twice-daily oral hygiene.
For more answers to your dental questions about chocolate and the effect on your teeth of other foods and beverages, keep reading our blog articles on these subjects or ask the friendly dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group!