Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and Your Teeth

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Virtually everyone enjoys a sweet treat, but do you worry about what these treats can do to your teeth?  Naturally, there are some treats that are better for your smile than other. In fact, there are some treats you should consider avoiding altogether, but there are a few things you can occasionally indulge in.

Of course, you can always enjoy treats that aren’t full of sugar. For example, you may consider salty snacks such as pretzels or popcorn. However, sugar may not cause the problems you think it does.  You see, foods either contain acids or create acids in your mouth. Acid—not sugar—causes problems in your mouth. However, sugar creates an environment where bacteria can thrive, which leads to more acid.

Fortunately, your saliva will negate the effects of acid. You can promote saliva simply by chewing gum or eating an apple. Similarly, a substance known as tannin can also reduce acids.  Some foods and beverages that contain tannin include red wine, coffee, tea, and chocolate.

However, some chocolates are better for your teeth than others. This is partially because the tannin in chocolate is in the cocoa. Since dark chocolate has more cocoa—and also less sugar than white and milk chocolate—it’s probably your best choice.

Of course, there are some sweets you should consider avoiding altogether. For instance, you should probably avoid chew candies such as caramel and taffy. These can stick to your teeth, making them harder to remove and allowing more acid to form in your mouth. Also if you have dental work, these chewy candies can wreak havoc. Similarly, be weary of hard candies. Biting them can break your teeth, and sucking them allows can promote decay.

Finally, while you may be tempted to brush your teeth after you eat something sweet, you should wait at least half an hour. The acids from the food you eat will weaken the outer layer of your teeth, meaning your brush will cause additional damage.  After half an hour, your enamel will harden itself again.

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact Bright Dental Care at 661.588.2772. Dr. Yong Eon Park and our entire team are eager to hear from you.