It’s Valentine’s Day. Sweetness is in the air. Candy is on the counter. In a previous post, we talked about all the sweet treats that come along with this holiday and some strategies to avoid them.

an image of dark chocolate

Go ahead and enjoy a piece of dark chocolate this Valentine’s Day.

But since V-Day is all about getting someone you love to smile, we thought we’d help our patients in the Jacksonville area by revealing a little known dental secret: dark chocolate may help fight plaque and cavities.

Now this doesn’t mean you can go buy out the candy aisle in the grocery store. But it does mean that under the right circumstances, and in the proper amount of moderation, a dark chocolate treat may be a good thing…at least as far as your teeth are concerned. The following facts contain important information about this tasty treat.

– Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turns 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.
Dark chocolate with little amounts of sugar per serving (less than 6 – 8 grams) is the safest chocolate treat for your teeth.
– Heavily processed chocolate (i.e. milk chocolate, milkshakes, bonbons stuffed with caramel, white chocolate, etc.) is very harmful for the enamel in your teeth.
– Dark chocolate is still a confection, which means it often contains other health concerns such as calories and fat content. The key, as always, is portion control.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Dr. Rittenberg & Associates. Always feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about this article or if you’d like to talk about other dental topics.