How Those Valentine’s Chocolates Affect Your Teeth

a stack of chocolate bars

While hopefully, you have more creative ideas for your special someone this Valentine’s Day, one of the long-standing traditions that’s sure to stick around for a long time is giving a giant box of chocolates to your lover. If you receive a giant heart-shaped box of chocolates, or if you give one and manage to sneak back a couple pieces, then here’s what you should know about what it does to your teeth.

Chocolate Candy and Tooth Decay

a stack of chocolate barsWhat’s really a concern in regards to protecting your teeth while eating chocolate or any other kind of candy is how sticky it is. When you have a sticky, sugary substance stuck to your teeth, your saliva can’t reach that part of your tooth to neutralize the acids. Also, the sugar is the food that the bacteria in your mouth use to produce the dangerous acids that cause tooth decay. Bacteria converts all sugars into acid, whether it’s fruit sugar or the refined sugar found in chocolate candy.

There is some good news, however. Dark chocolate actually contains tannins that help prevent cavities by interfering with acid production. So when you’re shopping for that box of chocolates, go for the dark chocolate variety that has at least 70% cocoa. Along with the tannins, the cocoa contains antioxidants that keep your body healthy on a cellular level, In fact, dark chocolate can contain up to four times the level found in green tea.

Protect Your Oral Health

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!