Can Chocolate Milk Cause Tooth Decay?
For all you chocolate lovers, this may be the hardest thing you have to hear. Chocolate milk may cause tooth decay if consumed regularly, especially amongst children (1).
Although chocolate itself may not be as bad, it is the ingredients that may go with it such as sugar which may cause the most damage.
Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans which are harvested from pods on cocoa trees. Once, refined and manufactured into chocolate liquor, sugar and milk may be added to create the sweet flavour we all know and love!
Unfortunately, as you might already know, sugar can be harmful to your teeth and products such as chocolate milk which has sugar additives can cause oral health issues.
Our team explain some of the effects of consuming too much chocolate and ways to stay on top of your oral health if you feel like you have been overindulging lately!
Does chocolate stain teeth?
Although chocolate may contribute to straining teeth, some of the main contributors are:
- Soft drinks and red wine
- Strong spices and sauces
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene each day, especially after consuming sugary products such as chocolate as it may lead to the break down of your enamel. Research suggests that the high amount of sugar in milk chocolate products is what causes tooth decay and cavities within your teeth (2).
This is because of the way sugar interacts with some of the bacteria within your mouth. In short, your mouth is home to many types of bacteria, some good for your oral health and some that may be harmful.
Once sugar enters your mouth, some of the harmful bacteria produce an acid which may harm your enamel (protective layer around your tooth) by removing minerals from the tooth’s surface. As a result, leaving your tooth exposed to issues such as developing decay or staining teeth.
Although everything should be consumed in moderation, if you frequently consume sugary products each day like chocolate, it may be doing your more harm and exposing your teeth to further issues.
Is dark chocolate bad for teeth?
Research suggests that dark chocolate may not be as bad for your teeth as normal milk chocolate. This is because most dark chocolate products may contain between 50 – 90% of natural cocoa plant chemicals known as flavanols. These natural chemicals have been known to improve your blood flow and help to lower blood pressure.
Further studies support this claim as one found that dark chocolate may improve your general cardiovascular health if the product is made up of at least 60% of natural cocoa and no more than 2 grams are consumed per day (3).
On the other hand, normal milk chocolate products such as chocolate milk may be made up of between 10-50% of cocoa solids and filled with more sugar and milk form ingredients. Meaning, there are less natural ingredients and more sweeteners.
How to prevent tooth decay
To help prevent tooth decay and cavities forming within your mouth, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices each day. You can do this through:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing once a day
- Attending regular 6-monthly check-ups with your dentist
Teeth Cleaning on the Gold Coast
If you feel like you consumed a little too much chocolate lately or would like to have your teeth cleaned, contact our friendly staff today.
We have 11 practices conveniently located around the Gold Coast, Northern New South Wales and in Redland Bay. There is bound to be one near you!
Alternatively, you can book an appointment online 24/7.
- Kazemalilou, S., & Alizadeh, A. (2017). Optimization of Sugar Replacement with Date Syrup in Prebiotic Chocolate Milk Using Response Surface Methodology. Korean journal for food science of animal resources, 37(3), 449–455. https://doi.org/10.5851/kosfa.2017.37.3.449. Retrieved From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5516072/
- Irawan, M. I. P., Noerdin, A., & Eriwati, Y. K. (2017, August). The effect of time in the exposure of theobromine gel to enamel and surface hardness after demineralization with 1% citric acid. In Journal of Physics: Conference Series(Vol. 884, No. 1, p. 012005). IOP Publishing. Retrieved From: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/884/1/012005/pdf
- Higginbotham, E., & Taub, P. R. (2015). Cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate?. Current treatment options in cardiovascular medicine, 17(12), 1-12. Retrieved From: https://www.essentialnutrition.com.br/media/artigos/chocolift/14.pd
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