Chocolate: A Superfood for Your Teeth

A dentist recommending chocolate? Yes, that’s right, you read correctly, and it might even be more effective than fluoride.

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Chocolate: A Superfood for Your Teeth

A dentist recommending chocolate? Yes, that’s right, you read correctly. Recent studies emerging from Japan, England, and the U.S. support the fact that chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay in the mouth.

Dark chocolate (I can’t speak for sugary milk chocolate) doesn’t deserve its bad rap as a cavity-causing treat. It may actually help prevent cavities!

And here’s where the gauntlet gets thrown down. Compounds in chocolate may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers are predicting that one day, the compound found in chocolate called CBH will be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids, which eat away at the tooth’s surface and cause cavities. Compounds in the cocoa bean husk have an anti-bacterial effect and also fight against plaque. This makes chocolate less harmful than many other sweet foods your dentist might warn you against because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.

This research has even revealed that the cocoa extract is more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities. To many, this is shocking news, but for me that’s not saying much. I’m not a big fan of ingesting fluoride, and I think it has long been over-hyped (more on that in future posts).

The compound CBH, a white crystalline powder whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden tooth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay. This specific compound has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will it will take another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale (in the form of mouthwashes and toothpaste).

In the mean time, however, one can “administer” this compound via the ingestion of chocolate. Eating 3-4 oz of chocolate a day is a great way to take advantage of this wonder compound and lower your chance of getting cavities. What an easy and fun recommendation a doctor can make; it’s been called the food of the gods, a supposed aphrodisiac, and the drink that Casanova favored.

Now, before you reach for that Snickers bar, listen to this:

For the best therapeutic effect (yes, I’m still talking about chocolate), it’s best to chew on cacao nibs. Most will find this option unpalatable.

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.
Raw chocolate is even a better choice, as it it less processed, and more of the antioxidants are left intact.

Do all of this for your teeth, but enjoy the other benefits of mood elevation and better blood flow as well!

With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood. Chocolate has over 300 chemical compounds in it, making it one of the most complex foods we know of, and I predict that many new compounds in chocolate beneficial to us will surface over time and cement its nutritional five star rating.

Mark Burhenne DDS

Read Next: 8 Surprising Superfoods for Your Teeth

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  1. Is pure unsweetened cocoa just as good as dark chocolate. I was thinking a tbls spoon of dark chocolate in cup of warm unsweetened soy milk could be good daily. Would you agree?

    • Dave, it all depends on the cacao content. If you’re talking about unsweetened cocoa that is 75% or higher, then, yes, I think that’s a great idea!

      • Hi Dr. Burhenne,

        Is Dutch process cacao better for the teeth since the acid has been stripped? I am trying to decide between using regular organic cacao or organic dutch processed cacao in my toothpowder.

  2. Does this also apply to kids with and without babyteeth

  3. Will the acidic PH level of cocoa and its tendency to dry the mouth in its purer forms not impact adversely on enamel erosion, however? Any enamel hardening properties would certainly need qualifying if dark chocolate’s contact on the teeth before CBH could be utilised by the body actually initiated the tooth dissolving process.

    • Well dutch process cocoa is treated to remove acidity, don’t know the PH of it though.

  4. Hi,

    I make my own toothpaste using coconut oil, baking soda, and tea tree oil. Is there anything else that I should add?

    Also, could unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder be added to a toothpaste recipe?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think so, I googled the health benefits for raw coco on the teeth because I noticed my teeth getting whiter after I drank a raw coco hemp tea [added raw coco to my hemp tea because I can and it’s surprisingly good].

    • mchoodies says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Did you end up trying it? What was your experience with it? I may experiment on my next batch.

  5. Phillip M. Wood says:

    I can also attest anecdotally that two cups of Hershey’s 100% cocoa made with hot water, consumed in the late afternoon and evening, have remediated a very painful lower leg vein situation, which would bring me out of a sound sleep and forcing me to get up and walk around. Simple hot cocoa has resolved perhaps an un-diagnosed poor circulation, arterial sclerosis or peripheral artery disorder. Who knows; it works for me; it was, it isn’t ! Best sleep I have had in years at 76.

  6. ramakrishnan says:

    It is proven that dark chocolate is good for teeth.

  7. looking for references

  8. Cocoa bean husk (CBH) is the shell removed when extracting the nib to make cocoa powder and chocolate. It’s considered an industrial waste. CBH extract isn’t a specific compound, it’s made of various polyphenols. The only current uses of CBH are tea and local artisanal cookies.
    That being said, chocolate powder, especially raw, contains polyphenols too and is very good for the health. See for example “Cocoa Polyphenols and Their Potential Benefits for Human Health”.

  9. Hi mates, its wonderful piece of writing about cultureand fully defined, keep it up all the

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