February 3, 2019
February is here, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. When you think of Valentine’s Day, your first thought probably jumps to the gift you’re going to get your special someone. If you plan on getting chocolate, (or at the very least plan on eating chocolate during the holiday) it’s important that you understand how it can affect your oral health.
Today, a dentist in Uptown Houston examines the history of chocolate and tips to protect your teeth this holiday!
A Brief History of Chocolate
Chocolate comes from cacao seeds that are roasted and then grounded into a powder. This powder is combined with many other ingredients, including butter, milk, cocoa butter and sugar, to make chocolate. While cacao is not really the focus in most chocolates, it was often the star of beverages used by tribes in Central America some 4,000 years ago. According to the Aztecs and Mayans, chocolate was a discovery ordained by God and labeled a gift to mankind. During that time, it was considered a healing agent, labeled as an aphrodisiac (which is still the case today) and even used for religious rituals.
How We View Chocolate Today
While chocolate isn’t given the same level of worship today as it was back then, it’s still one of the most popular ingredients for a wide variety of foods and beverages. Of course, its use should be well-moderated as overconsumption can be dangerous to your health.
The Health Benefits of Chocolate
It is true that cocoa is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it can protect the nerves from injury and reduce inflammation. It’s also good for the immune system and cardiovascular system. It’s even good for your skin, which explains why cocoa butter is so popular in the cosmetic aisle. Furthermore, it acts as a natural mood booster, which is why it’s a perfect complement to Valentine’s Day.
Health Issues to Consider
With that said, eating too much chocolate can result in a host of health problems. Candy that’s high in sweet or semisweet chocolate means it’s high in sugar, which is linked to:
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
- Tooth decay
How to Protect Teeth After Eating Chocolate
If you plan to eat chocolate this Valentine’s Day, make sure that you maintain a strict oral care routine of brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing daily. Use a waxed floss if the space between your teeth is tight. If you do eat chocolate, don’t go to brush your teeth right away. Since chocolate is acidic, it softens enamel, making it easier for you to brush away valuable tooth enamel. Wait 30 minutes so your mouth’s alkaline levels balance out, then brush.
Finally, you should always make sure that your biannual dental visits are scheduled. However, those who eat chocolate regularly just may need to visit more often to protect their teeth and gums!
About the Author
Dr. Terri Alani works hard to provide patients a very high standard of care. Whether you need a restorative treatment performed or a simple routine checkup, you’ll love her caring bedside manner and expert attention to detail. To learn more about her practice, you can contact her through her website.
No comments yet.
RSS feed for comments on this post.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.