NHS dentists: MPs debate availability in UK
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Orthodontist doctor Khaled Kasem said some chocolate can be good for teeth.
He said the darker the chocolate the better:“Eat all the dark chocolate you want! It might come as a surprise for a dentist to be encouraging you to eat chocolate, however dark chocolate is known to have many benefits and preventing tooth decay is one of them.
“Not only this, but it also helps to fight the bacteria that causes the sugar to turn into acid and contains strong antibacterial agents. The darker the better when it comes to choosing a dark chocolate, and it even helps prevent bad breath so it’s an all-round favourite treat for dentists!”
However, not all forms of chocolate are good for teeth. For example, mint chocolate may seemingly improve breath, but this doesn’t mean it should be repeatedly eaten.
Dr Kasem said: “It might be better for your breath, but don’t be misled by minty fresh chocolate, it won’t give your teeth the same effect as when you use toothpaste.
“Eating milk chocolate that contains a hint of mint will still cause tooth decay, just the same as if you were to eat milk chocolate on its own. If you really want to enjoy the taste of some minty fresh chocolate, be a little more selective, and choose the highest percentage of dark chocolate as you possibly can.
“This will reduce the risk of damaging your teeth, whilst still allowing you to enjoy your favourite chocolate, guilt free.”
Furthermore, although some forms of chocolate can be good for mouth health, not all forms of healthy foods are either.
This includes fruit. Drr Kasem said this isn’t the case when it comes to fruit in chocolate: “Fruit is good for you, and an apple a day keeps the doctor away…right? Not when it comes to chocolate! Chocolate covered fruit (like fruit and nut bars or chocolate covered raisins) contain extremely high amounts of sugar in them – that’s because sugar is added to the fruit as it’s dried up to give it that taste we all know and love.
“As with anything with a high sugar content, it really is your worst nightmare when it comes to your teeth, as it will increase tooth decay and cavities, causing severe damage to your teeth.
“If you consistently overindulge on these sugary treats, you may even be at risk of losing your teeth!”
Which chocolate causes the most damage?
Dr Kasem said: “White and milk chocolate are the most popular choices, but these are the ones you should stay away from if you want to protect your teeth! White chocolate is especially renowned for its high sugar content and is the least nutritious of them all.
“Both, white and milk chocolate have a much lower percentage of cacao and you’ll find that the rest of the chocolate bar is made up of powdered milk and high amounts of sugar.”
Why are they bad?
“The excessive amount of sugar in this kind of chocolate supports bacteria growth in your mouth. The bacteria turn the sugar in your mouth into acid, which then causes cavities and tooth decay, therefore damaging your teeth. It’s best to enjoy this chocolate as little and often as you can,” said Dr Kasem.
This doesn’t mean someone can’t still enjoy chocolate, as Kasem explained.
He said: “If you really want to enjoy some white or milk chocolate, the best time to eat the chocolate is after dinner, with a glass of water, so that the other foods and water neutralise the sugars and reduce the risk of causing tooth decay.”
What is the best way to look after your teeth?
The best way to look after your mouth is to brush teeth regularly, at least twice a day for two minutes.
Furthermore, flossing is also useful and so too is mouthwash.
However, using mouthwash should not be seen as an alternative to brushing.
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