It’s been a rough day…it’s your birthday…you haven’t eaten it in, like, forever, and you deserve it…it’s Valentine’s Day season…There are a million and one (and infinitely more) excuses for indulging in chocolate, but wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t need to excuse your cravings? With the revelation that chocolate might actually be good for you, the fan favorite isn’t as decadent as once believed, and your excuses can melt away along with the guilt of indulgence.
What’s the secret? If you take a close look at chocolate, you’ll see that it contains a wealth of essential minerals and nutrients, like fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, and many others. Cocoa also contains an ample supply of antioxidant nutrients and enzymes that help combat harmful free radicals that might be toxic to healthy tissue cells. Free radicals are highly-unstable molecules that steal and give away electrons throughout your body, damaging cells and genetic material. Antioxidants, like those in chocolate, help control the effects of free radicals, including rampant inflammation associated with gum disease and other chronic health issues. Darker, richer chocolate high in cocoa content possesses more of the things that make chocolate good for you.
What to Watch Out For
As good as chocolate may be, it contains more than good nutrition; it also contains notable amounts of sugar and calories that aren’t as beneficial to your health, or your teeth. Certain oral bacteria, which contribute to dental plaque, can convert sugar and starches into acids that destroy your tooth enamel, paving the way for cavities to infect your teeth. To reduce the risks to your dental health from indulging in chocolate, save the treat for after a larger meal, when other foods and an increased saliva flow can help neutralize sugar-induced acid production.
Wash it Down with Milk
Milk and chocolate seem almost like a natural pairing, which is good news for your smile if you follow the inclination. Milk is rich in calcium and phosphate, which strengthen your tooth enamel and make it resistant to bacteria. It also neutralizes the acid that your mouth’s bacteria produce.
(Note: Don’t be fooled by the name; milk chocolate contains fewer health benefits than eating dark chocolate while drinking milk.)
About Your Park Ridge Dentists:
Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled restorative, cosmetic, and implant dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To schedule an appointment, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.