It’s Valentine’s Day, and if you’re already eyeing a big box of chocolates, take comfort in knowing that what you’re about to indulge in may actually be good for your teeth.
Researchers have found that chocolate (in moderation) can protect against tooth decay. In fact, it is so successful in combating decay that scientists believe some of chocolate’s components – specifically the cocoa bean husk – may one day be added to mouthwash or toothpaste.
Also see: Chocolate Makes Us Smile Most
Japanese scientists found that chocolate is less harmful than many other sweet foods because the anti-bacterial agents in cocoa beans offset the high sugar levels in the candy. They tested their theory on rats. Scientists gave all of the rats a high sugar diet, but added an extract of cocoa bean husk (CBH) to the drinking water of a select group.
Also see: Sweet Advice for Valentine’s Day
After three months, the study found that the rats with only the high sugar diet had 14 cavities on average compared to just six cavities for those who received the cocoa bean husk supplement in their diet.
The researchers are now planning to test their findings on humans.
Reminder: This study may demonstrate chocolate’s good effects on teeth… but it’s by no means a substitute for good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing must be a part of your daily routine in order to maintain good oral health.