Pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming.
Studies have revealed that 3 of our most favorite dietary vices may actually have cavity-fighting properties and be good for your teeth. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Dark Chocolate – All Hail the Cocoa Bean! This news may have been around awhile, but it’s still good news. Cocoa beans, which are used to make chocolate, contain antioxidants including flavonoids, polyphenols and tannins. Tannins are what cause dark chocolate to have that delightful yet bitter taste, and they also have properties which help to prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Polyphenols have antimicrobial properties, which means they help to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
Bacteria in the mouth are what cause bad breath and gum disease. Studies have been conducted by the University of Osaka in Japan, as well as other studies in the US and UK. If you’re planning to run out to get some dark chocolate, aim for 70% cacao or higher.
Red Wine – Yes, you heard us. Red wine, like dark chocolate, also contains tannins and other antioxidants. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry recently concluded that red wine, whether or not it contained alcohol, inhibited the growth of bacteria and oral biofilms, which become plaque. The same study also found properties in grape seed extract to have similar antimicrobial properties.
Black Coffee – The trifecta is complete. Results of a recent study released by Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University in Brazil have revealed that black coffee may also have properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria. The study utilized baby teeth which were donated to the university. The teeth were exposed to bacterias and other substances which are known to cause biofilms and plaque-causing agents.
The study found that an extract called Coffea canephora, which is present in about 30% of the world’s coffee, helped to break down the biofilms. Coffee also contains tannins, the same antioxidants found in red wine and coffee. The coffee bean cited in this study is called Robusta. Robusta is often found in darker, stronger roasts. The key is to drink coffee without cream or sugar, as both will counteract the potential benefits from the coffee beans.
Enjoy, In Moderation
Is this all too good to be true? Well, a little bit. Coffee, chocolate and red wine all have dark pigments that can stain teeth, which is why many dentists may encourage people to avoid them. Dental restorations such as crowns and veneers, as well as recently whitened teeth, may be more susceptible to staining, so it is important to follow the recommendations of your dentist.
If you plan to enjoy any of these treats, remember to do so in moderation. We also recommend you follow up with a good swish of water reduce the staining potential until you can find time to brush. Brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day, and flossing, are a critical part of your oral health routine. It is also important to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleainings. The good news is that you can reward yourself after your dental visit with some delightful treats!
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