Is Dark Chocolate Good for Your Teeth?

Chocolate comes is a wide range of varieties from milk, to semi sweet to dark and even unsweetened. Those who favor dark chocolate may notice that these selections are often chalkier and more bitter tasting than the sweeter types. Given the lower sugar content, there are healthier benefits associated with choosing dark chocolate. However, some have wondered whether the rich flavor of dark chocolate can be linked to stronger dyes that could aggressively stain teeth.

The short answer is no, dark chocolate does not stain your teeth. Dark chocolate is higher in cocoa content, which is not linked to tooth discoloration. Of more interest is that dark chocolate also generally has higher values of theobromine, a natural substance found in cocoa beans, which can actually strengthen enamel and decrease risk for dental decay. Stronger enamel is often more stain resistant so dark chocolate could arguably help teeth maintain their brightness.

Generally, it's the color coated chocolate candies that contain artificial coloring agents, which can be absorbed by our teeth. Nestle USA recently decided to remove artificial flavors and colors from its products and this decision has prompted many to question the effect these dyes may have on our health. The FDA has confirmed that it regulates the amounts of artificial additives to meet safety standards. However, indulging in sugar in any form comes with its own set of consequences.

In my experience, dark chocolate does not stain teeth more than milk chocolate. Foods that have greater effects on staining include tobacco in all forms, rich sauces like curry or stir fry and dark beverages such as red wine, coffee, and tea. Generally, chocolate is recommended over its sticky candy counterparts because it melts and is more easily rinsed away. To lessen the harm of staining as well as the risk of decay, it is recommend to drink water after chocolate consumption and maintain good oral hygiene.

Dark chocolate is a favored sweet for many reasons and like most indulgences should be enjoyed in moderation.