Chocolate is delicious, but sadly not nutritious enough to justify an Easter-style face-stuffing every day.
As it turns out, while milk chocolate and anything containing caramel are high in sugar causing cavities and decay, dark chocolate might actually be good for your teeth.
Some dark chocolate can even contain four times the antioxidant levels found in green tea and could even help fight cavities.
We spoke to cosmetic dental surgeon Dr Krystyna Wilczynski to find out the health benefits of dark chocolate on your teeth.
1. Limiting oral bacteria
“Cocoa beans contain tannins, polyphenols and flavonoids. These are all antioxidants which benefit the mouth and teeth,” Dr Wilczynski explains.
Polyphenols are natural chemicals which can limit the growth of oral bacteria.
This can neutralise the cause of bad breath, limit gum infections and prevent some bacteria from converting sugar into acid and rotting your teeth.
2. Anti-inflammatory properties
“Tannins are plant compounds that give dark chocolate their bitter taste and dark colour,” Dr Wilcyznski says.
They also have high concentrations of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help prevent infection and swelling, such as is common in gum disease.
3. Slow tooth decay
Dark chocolate is also high in flavonoids which have been shown to slow tooth decay.
The tannins in dark chocolate too help prevent tooth decay as their molecules bind to bacteria before plaque has time to from, preventing bacteria sticking to the teeth.
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