When you want to keep your smile healthy and bright, you may avoid certain foods that can lead to cavities or staining. However, three common dietary “vices” may possess properties that fight cavities and are good for your teeth and oral health. It’s important to remember though that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and that practicing moderation with these three foods is the best course of action.
The health benefits of dark chocolate have been common knowledge for a while, but you might not know that they can help your teeth. Cocoa beans contain antioxidants that can be beneficial to your teeth including:
- Tannins – These give dark chocolate that slightly bitter but delightful taste and they aid in preventing bacteria from sticking to teeth.
- Polyphenols – The antimicrobial properties of these antioxidants aid in reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
- Flavonoids – These plant-based antioxidants found in dark chocolate can help slow tooth decay.
By reducing bacteria, preventing it from sticking to teeth and slowing tooth decay, you can reduce your chances of having gum disease and bad breath. When choosing dark chocolate for these desirable properties, opt for something with 70% cacao or higher and consume in sensible moderation.
Similar to dark chocolate, red wine also contains helpful antioxidants including tannins. Whether or not it contains alcohol, red wine can inhibit the production of oral biofilms and bacteria that develop into plaque. If you don’t like wine, a study by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that grape seed extract has similar antimicrobial characteristics.
Black coffee, not coffee filled with sweeteners and cream can help inhibit bacteria growth. An extract known as Coffea Canephora exists in approximately 30% of the coffee in the world and it can contribute to destroying the biofilms that lead to plaque. There are also tannins in coffee like there are in chocolate and red wine. A darker, stronger roast coffee may be the most beneficial and you need to drink it free of sugar and cream that can coat your teeth and expose them to damaging acid.
Chocolate, red wine, and coffee all contain pigments that can lead to stains on the teeth, which is why dentists often advise avoiding them, especially in people with veneers, crowns or recently whitened teeth. Consult with your dentist about the best way to prevent stains and remember to consume these dietary vices in moderation and follow by brushing or swishing with water to enjoy their oral health benefits without risking your teeth.
To brighten your smile and keep it healthy, contact Dupont Dental to learn more about our variety of dental services.