Chocolates are a delight for every one, be it children or adults. It consists of different types such as, gummies, candies, caramel, lollypops, fudge, white chocolates, milk chocolates, dark chocolates. Chocolates consumed any time of the day with relish as they give you a feeling of happiness and pleasure.
Milk chocolates are one of the most favorite and widely consumed type of chocolate, but it is more harmful for our teeth. It comprises of more sugar content then the rest dark chocolates. Its much more raw and unprocessed. It consist of combination of coco powdered milk and sugar. The higher sugar content can cause cavities more so than dark chocolate. Dark chocolates are a good choice as they keep our teeth cavity free. Dark chocolates contains 70% coco and only 30% powdered milk and sugar. They contain polyphenols, flavonoid and antioxidant’s. Polyphenols prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria’s. they also prevent some sugars from turning into acid which breaks down enamel and cause tooth decay. Antioxidants help to fight against gum disease.
Sugar contents of different chocolates according to U.S.D.A (united states department of Agriculture)
- White Chocolate 17gms per ounce
- Milk Chocolate 15gms per ounce
- Dark Chocolate 14gms per ounce
Sugar in chocolate attract bacteria, tooth decay occurs when bacteria of oral cavity turns sugar into acid. Most commonly found bacteria are Streptococcus mutans and sobrirus. These bacteria survive by utilising sugar which we eat and from dental plaque, which forms on surface of teeth. Once the sugar broken down into acids by this bacteria there breakdown of enamel followed by cavity formation. The ph of oral cavity is 7. As soon as we consume carbohydrates like chocolates the ph becomes acidic with in 10 minutes and then becomes to basic ph of around 8-9 after 20 minutes.
To reverse this acidic attack on our teeth one should consume water or alkaline foods within 10 minutes. If the plaque not eliminated while brushing, bacteria in the saliva continue to turn into acid. So the tooth decay overcome by consuming alkaline food such as fennel seeds or peanuts after having sweet or acidic food to neutralize the decay causing process, or keeping a check on what type of food we eat, brushing teeth twice daily, flossing in between teeth.
Gargling or drinking water after chocolate consumption is of utmost importance, this helps to rinse the mouth and dilute sugar so that it doesn’t stick to the tooth surface. It is also advisable to eat sugary or sweetened products to have them with meals instead in between to prevent acid attacks for longer period. Also chocolate consumption is avoided before going to bed as during night time the secretion of saliva is low. This causes the remnants of chocolate to adhere on tooth surface thereby causing tooth decay. Visit to a dentist every 3-6 months for both children and adults helps to access one’s oral hygiene and its maintenance to prevent cavity and gum disease.
The bottom line is to keep intake of chocolates minimum especially between meals and rite before bed time.