Since you may be tired of hearing about what you should not eat or drink to keep your teeth healthy, here are some surprising indulgences that get the green light (in moderation) from your dentist. Coffee, dark chocolate and red wine all have dental health benefits that will make you smile with no guilt, or at least without the guilt of damaging your teeth or having stained teeth.
- There is no getting around coffee’s ability to stain your teeth. However, besides it’s cosmetic pitfall, coffee can actually decrease tooth decay. According to several studies, roasted coffee beans turned out antibacterial agents against S. mutans, which is the bacteria that causes tooth decay. The roasted coffee also prevented the bacteria from being absorbed in the teeth. The conclusion is that coffee does not only prevent growth of the tooth decay bacteria but it actually decreases the amount of the bacteria that sticks to teeth.
- Dark Chocolate
- No, it is not a joke. Dentists are giving the go ahead on chocolate too. In a collection of studies out of England, Japan and the United States, research is showing that cocoa or dark chocolate actually helps fight cavities, plaque, even tooth decay and can even rival the benefits of fluoride. A compound found in chocolate called CBH have anti-bacterial properties that fight against plaque. These antibacterial properties actually offset the sugar content of candy and other bacteria in the mouth. When bacteria in the mouth turns sugar into acids, the acid attacks the tooth surface and leads to decay. CBH in cocoa helps to neutralize these harmful acids. CBH is also a white crystalline powder that is known to help harden tooth enamel.
- Red Wine
- Again, drinking red wine stain your teeth and lead you towards tooth whitening later but red wine also has compounds that promote healthy teeth. Polyphenols are compounds found in leftover fermented grape skins, stems and seeds that actually block the molecules made by S. mutans bacteria. By preventing these bacteria from accumulating in your mouth, red wine can prevent tooth erosion and cavities. Polyphenols allows the good bacteria to thrive while disabling the bad bacteria from clinging to our tooth surface.
Now you can enjoy these simple indulgences and feel good about them as it pertains to your oral health. However, just make sure you are using moderation. Of course we know we cannot live on coffee, chocolate and red wine alone (thought it may sound delightful). For example, glass after glass of red wine can rack up some serious sugar content and defeat it’s cavity-blocking benefits. All in all, however, when you do decide to treat yourself to a cup of coffee to get your day going, an afternoon chunk of dark chocolate or a glass of red wine to end the day, you can at least know your teeth are reaping some benefits along the way!