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Chocolate Helps Prevent Cavities

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This is due to the benefits of tannic acid or tannins found in a variety of food like chocolate. Tannins are naturally occurring Polyphenols and prevent cavities. Polyphenols are what make wine and many other fruits astringent and make variety of flowers and autumn leaves colorful. Polyphenols also cause precipitation of proteins. What that means is that it prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth.

The dental profession originally thought that dental disease or presence of tooth decay can be explained simply by the presence of the bacteria (in this case two families of bacteria: mutans streptococci and Lactobacillus) and presence of sugar. Not eating sugar, and brushing and flossing your teeth should be enough to avoid cavities. The treatment of tooth decay was surgical intervention, i.e. you got your teeth drilled and a new filling was placed. Since then, we have learned that there is more to the story.

Dental caries (tooth decay) is both infectious and transmissible. It gets transmitted from mother to the child through spoon feeding, and through the entire family unit. Today primary caregivers of an infant may be a relative other than the mother or a paid nanny or au pair. They too can transmit the disease to the children. Also, there are a number of people who never had any cavities as a child but started having them when they started collage. This is due to transmission of bacteria by sharing of saliva. So, get a kiss with a chocolate.

We now know that tooth decay is caused by a biofilm. Biofilm forms in nature, whenever there is fluid, bacteria, and a surface. It is a sophisticated ecosystem of bacteria, feeding channels, and waste channels. The participating bacteria shares genetic information and communicate with each other. Within the biofilm, the bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. The two primary cavity forming bacterias that make up this biofilm are acidogenic (they make lactic acid that eats away good tooth structure). Normally, they form a less than 1% of the oral biofilm, but something happens and then they account for 96%. This shift is PH-related. In other words, the more acidic your saliva is, the more bacterial biofilm is formed and there are more chances of cavities.

A diet based on proteins and less carbohydrates makes the saliva more alkaline and prevents cavity producing bacteria from spreading. Carbohydrates make the saliva more acidic. So if you have a diet based on rice, bread, and other starchy foods and sweets, you are more prone to cavities, sensitive teeth, and teeth wear. When it comes to chocolate, make sure you eat only high cocoa content chocolates.

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About Aalam Samsavar

  • Silver Surfer

    I’m off to prevent a cavity or two right now. Does hazelnut milk chocolate count??

    Hope so.

  • Emmanuel Melo

    Wow! That’s really great. I’ve been studying the properties of chocolate, especially of cocoa and I realize that we must change our perception of chocolate. It is much healthier than we think. Thanx for the hint!