Smile Makeovers – ‘Chocolate or potato chip’ what is more harmful for your teeth?

The common wisdom regarding caring for your smile is that sugary snacks, candy, and chocolate are harmful for your teeth. And it’s true that snacks that are high in sugar, when they come into contact with the plaque in your mouth, can lead to the buildup of acids in your mouth that can destroy your teeth’s enamel. Hard sugary foods such as hard candies, lollipops, and caramels that are high in refined sugar are even worse, because they can stick to your teeth for long periods of time after you finish eating them. This means that they have even longer to react with the plaque and produce even more acids in your mouth.

Why Is Sugar Harmful for Your Teeth

But when people think of foods high in sugar, they tend to limit the category to foods that taste sweet. But dentists don’t want you to forget that starchy foods with a savory taste are also high in sugar. Soft starchy foods also linger in the mouth for a long period of time after you’ve finished eating them. So that little bag of potato chips you love to have for an afternoon snack might be more harmful for your teeth than, say, a chocolate candy bar.

In fact, researchers have discovered that chocolate might actually fight tooth decay. A study done at Osaka University in Japan found that certain compounds in the cocoa bean might actually have an antibiotic effect, which reduces the amount of bacteria in the mouth. A reduction in bacteria in your mouth means there’s fewer bacteria to react with the sugar in your mouth, leading to fewer acids to attack your tooth enamel.

Dark Chocolate and Your Dental Teeth

The study in Japan found that the cocoa bean husk specifically contained the antibiotic substances. The scientists took an extract of cocoa bean husk and added it to the drinking water of lab rats, which were then fed a high-sugar diet. After three months, the rats had less than half of the cavities than other rats who were fed the same diet but didn’t receive the cocoa bean husk extract in their drinking water.

Cocoa beans also contain tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids, which are all strong antioxidants. These substances work to promote healthy gums and teeth. Polyphenols in particular work to neutralize the effects of bacteria, which, besides causing tooth decay, also cause bad breath, gum infections and harmful for your teeth. Dark chocolate, especially, can provide the most benefits to your teeth, as it contains the least amount of sugar and is the least processed.

Damaging Effects of the Sugar on Your Teeth

But it’s important to note that the beneficial compounds in chocolate largely just offset the damaging effects of the sugar that’s in the chocolate as well. The best way to avoid tooth decay is to cut out hard sugary foods and soft starchy foods and other harmful for your teeth foods from your diet while practicing good oral hygiene. Drinking plenty of water can also help flush out and remaining food particles and reduce the amount of bacteria. Visit your general dentist in NY every 6 months for a professional cleaning, too.

Author
Midtown Dental Care

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