Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at River Dentistry in downtown Los Angeles. We wish you happiness, love, and good health on this special day and always.
A group of Kansas City cardiologists created some hilarious heart-healthy memes to celebrate the romantic day. Their timing is perfect, since February is also American Heart Month. Your favorite Los Angeles dental office dentists and staff particularly like the one with “You, me, a moderate amount of red wine, and dark chocolate = Date Night.” Seems kind of perfect for Valentine’s.
But what is a Los Angeles dentist to do or recommend on Valentine’s day? We can hardly recommend wine because it is usually either sweet or acidic – both not optimal for enamel. Red wine will also stain your teeth, so do not forget to rise with water as soon as you can and drop by our Downtown Los Angeles dental office for your regular cleaning and occasional whitening. Can Los Angeles dentists in good consciousness recommend chocolates even on Valentine’s Day?
Los Angeles Dentist Recommends Chocolate
Yes, we can! Recent studies suggest that chocolate can be effective at fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay in the mouth. Dark chocolate, also known as “real chocolate”, is a good source of polyphenols, natural chemicals that can limit growth of oral bacteria. They are also able to neutralize microorganisms that cause bad breath and prevent some bacteria from turning sugar and starches into acid, which is harmful to your dental enamel.
Unfortunately, not all Valentine Day candies and chocolates are created equal. Most candies are packed with sugar and are all capable of causing damage to your tooth enamel. Some candies are much worse for your teeth than others. But of course your favorite Los Angeles dentist recommends you brush and floss (or at least rinse with water) as soon as you can after eating any candy.
Pick Your Valentine Treats Wisely
The worst candies for your teeth are sour candies. These products have high amounts of citric, fumaric and malic acids, all of which cause damage to the enamel of your teeth. The damage extends across all types of sour candies, from gummy sour candies to sour powders to hard sour candies.
Gummy candies are likely to be second-worst. Any gummy or extra-chewy candies are likely to be stickier and therefore they are likely to stay on your teeth for longer.
Any hard candies that you hold and suck on in your mouth are also especially bad since they stay in your mouth longer and give the enamel additional exposure to acids and sugars. In addition, chewing on or biting on hard candies can crack your enamel or even teeth. We are always happy to see you at our Downtown Los Angeles office, but not necessarily for a dental emergency!
Finally, sugary milk chocolate bars or milk chocolate candies, which are historically very popular in the U.S., are still a cavity-causing treat.
Downtown Dentist Recommends Dark Chocolate
To help prevent cavities, your favorite downtown dentist recommends your Valentine’s chocolates to be dark. In fact, compounds in dark chocolate may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers predict that soon the compound found in chocolate called CBH may be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste to replace fluoride. CBH, a white crystalline powder chemical makeup of which is similar to caffeine, helps harden tooth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay. This specific compound has been proven effective in models and tests, but it may take another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale in the form of mouthwashes and toothpastes. Until then, your Los Angeles dentist recommends regular brushing with high quality toothpastes that contain fluoride. (If you are unhappy with toothpastes you can buy in your local stores, ask your favorite downtown dentist if you may need a prescription-strength one.)
In fact, compounds in the cocoa bean husk have an anti-bacterial effect and also fight against plaque. This makes chocolate less harmful than many other sweets your dentist might warn you against because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels. The research has even revealed that cocoa extract is more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities.
Dark chocolate contains less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving. Still, chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly. Raw chocolate is even a better choice, as it is less processed, and more of the antioxidants are left intact. Eating 3-4 oz of chocolate a day is a great way to take advantage of this wonder compound and lower your chance of getting cavities.
So, give and get some chocolate for your teeth, but enjoy additional benefits of mood elevation and better blood flow as well! Again, what can be better for a Valentine date? May we recommend getting a box of dark chocolates from Godiva, Lindt, or Ghirardelli for your special someone and yourself? Happy Valentine’s!