Categorized | Health, Healthy Lifestyle

Dark Chocolate: Subtle trick or ideal treat?

chocolate, dark, candy

Dark chocolate offers a bevy of health benefits when consumed in moderation.

 

Halloween is fraught with the perils of cavity-inducing candies and tempting treats. Lip-smacking sour gummies, ooey gooey caramel and the lingering indulgence of hard candies and fruit chews can get to the best of us, but these sugar-laden delights wreak havoc on our oral health.

Even after candy is swallowed, the traces of sugar coupled with bacteria in the mouth create enamel-eroding acid. Yet there is a glimmer of semi-good news for the cavity conscious: dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate — which contains at least 60 percent cocoa solids and little-to-no added sugar — offers a bevy of health benefits when consumed in moderation. As rich in flavor as it is in flavonoids, which act as antioxidants, dark chocolate is associated with improvement in mood, cognitive performance, and blood flow to the heart and arteries. Conversely, it has been shown to have the potential to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of blood clots.

It also contains theobromine, a naturally-occurring compound that studies have shown may strengthen tooth enamel. But does this mean that we should make a beeline for the dark confection in the interest of stronger pearly whites?

What About Teeth?

“I think the potential oral health benefit is really minimal,” said Dr. Carolyn Wilson, a retired professor in pediatric dentistry at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry, now in full-time private practice. “If you think you’re going to eat dark chocolate and be doing your teeth good I don’t think that’s true. If you’re going to eat candy, chocolate would be the best option. But I wouldn’t eat dark chocolate to try to make my teeth stronger.”

“Chocolate is probably the best option because it melts quickly and doesn’t stick to the teeth like caramels, Jolly Ranchers and Skittles,” Wilson said. “Chocolate dissolves and clears out of the mouth pretty quickly. Anything sticky is going to be much worse.”

That includes dark or milk brimming with nougat, caramel or ganache. Fillings cancel out potential benefits.

“Solid chocolate is better than chocolate with anything inside of it,” said Wilson. “Then it’s all downhill from there.” — Newswise

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