Some studies from Japan, England, and the U.S. support the fact that chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay. Some studies even show cocoa to be more effective than fluoride! Compounds in the cocoa bean husk appear to have an anti-bacterial effect, reduce sensitivity and also fight against plaque.
The most recent study presented at the American Dental Association (ADA) 2013 Annual Session pitted fluoride toothpaste against a new toothpaste that contains the naturally-occurring cacao extract theobromine. The results showed that patients who brushed their teeth with the cacao-extract toothpaste twice a day for one week had “100 percent dental occlusion” with their tooth dentin becoming re-mineralized or repaired.
So don’t use this as an excuse to ditch your toothbrush for a chocolate fix! But here are a few suggestions how you can incorporate chocolate into your dental health.
For the best therapeutic effect (yes – chocolate), it’s best to chew on cacao nibs. Most will find this option unpalatable. Chocolate nibs can be found at most health food stores.
The second best choice is dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving – organic if possible. Be aware that chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly. You can find no-sugar dark chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s and other health food stores.
Raw chocolate is even a better choice, as it is less processed, and more of the antioxidants are left intact – but leaves something to be desired for taste on its own.
Keep your eyes out on the grocery shelves for toothpaste in the future featuring cacao extract.
Do all of this for your teeth, but enjoy the other benefits of mood elevation and better blood flow as well!