SunWest Blog

Preventing Tooth Decay from Valentine’s Chocolate

The long-held tradition of gifting a giant, heart-shaped box of chocolate candies to your valentine is sure to stick around for a very a long time. As delicious as the variety pack of bite-sized chocolates can be, their sugary sweetness can cause damage to your teeth. If your lover gives you a giant heart-shaped box of chocolates, or if you give one and sneak a piece or two. then here’s what you should know about what it does to your teeth.

Chocolate Candy and Tooth Decay

melted chocolateThe biggest concern in regards to protecting your teeth while eating chocolate or any other kind of candy is its stickiness. Especially the ones with caramel inside, the sugary chocolates can stick to the crevices between teeth, giving the bacteria in your mouth an extended period of time to turn that sugar into acids that damage your tooth enamel. The saliva in your mouth, which is the body’s natural defense against the acids, can’t reach the places where the acids are being produced. Bacteria converts all sugars into acid, whether it’s fruit sugar or the refined sugar found in chocolate candy.

There is some good news, though. Not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate actually contains tannins that help prevent cavities by interfering with acid production. Look for the dark chocolate varieties that have at least 70% cocoa (which, unfortunately, no milk chocolate has). Along with the tannins, the cocoa contains antioxidants that help your body retain cellular health throughout your body. Dark chocolate actually contains up to four times the level of antioxidants found in green tea.

Keep Up Your Oral Care During Valentine’s Day

While no one can really tell you not to eat chocolate, it’s important to continue to take care of your teeth even when you do. Regardless of how much or which kind of chocolate you eat or manage to resist eating, you should still brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and floss once a day to eliminate bacteria that lurk between your teeth. Regular visits to the dentist also ensure that your oral health stays in great shape, and in case you think oral hygiene is not romantic at all, studies have shown that the act of kissing can actually help prevent tooth decay because it stimulates saliva, which helps reduce the incidence of cavities. Happy Valentine’s Day!