Good news: there's some surprisingly positive data around chocolate consumption...so be sure to stock up next time you're at the store. You can thank us later.
To simplify things, let's break chocolate down into three categories: dark, milk, and white.
While we do not suggest you start eating chocolate with every meal of the day, a small amount of dark chocolate, which is made up of 70% cocoa and 30% powdered milk and sugar, reduces the negative effects on tooth enamel when compared to other chocolates.
Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which can help fight and neutralize bacteria in the mouth. It also contains flavonoids, which have been shown to slow tooth decay. Lastly, dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to overall health.
Unfortunately, milk chocolate isn't quite as good for you as dark chocolate is, due to it's higher levels of sugar and lower levels of cocoa. The higher sugar content can lead cavities and quicker tooth decay more so than dark, raw, or organic chocolate.
White chocolate follows a similar pattern, with a slightly higher percentage of sugar than milk chocolate (but who likes white chocolate, anyway?)
Sugar Content & Tooth Decay
As per USDA standards, here is the sugar content breakdown of the three groups of chocolate:
- Dark chocolate: 14 grams/ounce
- Milk chocolate: 15 grams/ounce
- White chocolate: 17 grams/ounce
Tooth decay and cavities occur when your body turns the sugars in your mouth into acids, which eat away at the surface of your teeth. While this doesn't mean you have to cut out all sugary drinks and foods, it's important to monitor your sugar intake not only for your oral hygiene, but for your overall health, as well. Be mindful to brush your teeth after consuming anything exceptionally sugary, chocolate falling into that category.
Just like with anything, moderation is key!