When Valentine’s Day rolls around, there are several things that come to mind: kisses from your sweetheart, cards, romantic date nights, and, of course, chocolate. While you may think of chocolate as an indulgence that you should only have on holidays, it turns out that chocolate actually has enormous benefits for your physical and oral health. In this post, your Rochester, MN dentist gives you even more reasons to love your favorite Valentine’s Day treat!
I Heart Chocolate
This time of year, you see chocolate hearts everywhere – in the grocery stores, at restaurants, and hopefully in the hands of your Valentine. It turns out that hearts are an appropriate shape for chocolate. Multiple studies have shown that your favorite treat is actually good for your cardiovascular health, too. The flavanols in cocoa beans can help lower your blood pressure and improve heart function. Additionally, flavanols are full of anti-oxidants, which help prevent heart disease. Though milk chocolate has some flavanols, cocoa-rich dark chocolate is more beneficial to your cardiovascular health.
Chocolate and Your Mouth
Scientists have known about the cardiovascular benefits of chocolate for some time now, but more recent research indicates that chocolate may be good for your teeth, too! Chocolate contains tannins, polyphenols, and flavanoids, all of which fight bacteria, prevent plaque from accumulating on your teeth and gums, and help to control bad breath. Cocoa also contains the CBH compound, which strengthens dental enamel. In turn, harder enamel reduces the risk of stains. Scientists are currently conducting animal tests on the effects of CBH. Though the tests are still in their infancy, some experts predict that CBH will prove more beneficial than fluoride.
Just as dark chocolate is better for your cardiovascular health, it is also better for your teeth. Dentists recommend raw chocolate, raw cacao nibs, and dark chocolate with 8 grams of sugar or less per serving.
A New Way to Enjoy Chocolate
For the true chocoholics out there, Crest® has introduced a new way to get even more chocolate into your day. Earlier this month, the well-known dental company released a new line of toothpaste, Crest Be. The line boats “adventurous” flavors, including – you guessed it – chocolate. Despite the unorthodoxy of such a product, parent company Proctor & Gamble reassured consumers that the Mint Chocolate TrekTM toothpaste had the same dental benefits as their more traditional toothpaste flavors. Now that the public is learning about the dental benefits of chocolate, the claim does not seem so far-fetched. Initial reviews are mixed, though most report that, while the dental benefits are unchanged, chocolate toothpaste just doesn’t provide the same “clean mouth feeling” that traditional toothpaste gives. We’re counting on all our chocoholic patients to find out for themselves.
About Dr. Calcagno:
Dr. Gilly Calcagno is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Minnesota Dental Association, and is active in local dental implant study clubs. To schedule a consultation, or to learn more about diet and dental health, call Calcagno Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry today at (507) 281-3659.