Chocolate: much more effective than fluoride?

Who on earth doesn’t know a thing about chocolate? Well, if you don’t, it’s safe to say that you’re not from this world. It’s either that or you were born yesterday. But, it’s also a well-known fact that you only know chocolate as the fruit of the Theobroma cacao, a tropical tree to which the name is known as “food of the gods” in Greek, it’s a good heart food, good brain food and good mood food as well. It is also classified into three types: dark, milk and white chocolate. But, enough of the stuff you know, do you know that latest study shows that there are compounds in chocolate that may be more effective in fighting decay than fluoride? Researchers are also predicting that someday, the compound found in chocolate called CBH will be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste.

The compound CBH, is a white crystalline powder which has a chemical makeup that helps harden tooth enamel thus making users less vulnerable to tooth decay.

Tooth Decay: What causes it?

There are several reasons why we always have tooth decay and here are some reasons why we can’t avoid it.

  • Poor dental hygiene – Brushing your teeth regularly is really important to avoid plaque and tartar formation that can cause tooth decay.
  • Plaque formation – As we all know plaque is made up of bacteria, food debris, acid and saliva. These substances if combined and will settle on your teeth, it will slowly damage your enamel which can cause tooth decay and tooth loss.
  • Having dry mouth – If you thought that saliva doesn’t have a purpose, think again you might be wrong. Saliva has a major purpose in our mouth. It usually helps to kill the bacteria in our oral cavity and it also helps in avoid plaque and tartar formation that slowly damage our teeth.
  • Diet – eating sugary food and drinks is totally not healthy for our teeth. Remember that sugar turns into acid which slowly causes tooth decay. It is always good to have limitations and also important that you maintain good oral hygiene when eating sweets.
  • Medical conditions – Having medical problems can also cause problems on our teeth. Diseases like cancer, stomach problems, renal failure and etc. are the common diseases that can cause dryness of your mouth or low calcium production which will make you prone to tooth decay.
Chocolate: much more effective than fluoride?
Photo: Pixabay, Pexels.

To avoid tooth decay it is extremely important that you maintain good oral hygiene and make sure that you take care of yourself when you have a disease to avoid tooth loss someday.

However, compound CBH from chocolate is still being tested and it would still take another 2 to 4 years before the product is approved for consumption. In the meantime, you can have a dose of this compound by simply eating chocolate. Eating 3-4 oz. of chocolate a day is a great way to reap the benefits of this unique compound while lowering your chances of getting cavities all at the same time.

But for the best therapeutic effect, it’s still best to snack on cacao nibs, which is the raw material used to make both cocoa powder and dark chocolate. It’s also a great source of Flavanols, a family of antioxidants which is good for the heart that help relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

The next best choice would be dark chocolate which contains 6-8 grams of sugar per serving, the organic one if possible. But all things considered, fact still remains that chocolate will always be a calorie-rich food, so adjust your calorie intake appropriately.
Still, raw chocolate is the preferred choice because being less processed, most of the antioxidants are still intact.

Aside from this latest discovery, other benefits of eating chocolate are, reduced cholesterol levels, prevents memory loss or cognitive decline, reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, improves foetal growth and development, enhances athletic performance, increased mood elevation and promotes blood circulation.

But like all things, not everything is good about chocolate. It also has its down-side such as weight gain, high sugar content and diabetes to name a few.

That is why it has always been said over and over again that eating or having too much or too little of anything isn’t always a good thing. Always learn the value of balance and equality. Always remember that your health and well-being will always depend on your ability to say when enough is enough.

Dr. Mark Nieh
Dr. Mark Nieh
I am a dentist at Parramatta Dentistry and I am obsessed about dentistry and its never-ending evolution. I strongly believe in continuing education in any profession. My main interest in professional development in the past few years has been with restorative dentistry involving aesthetic restorations, dental materials research, and implant restorations.
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