Okay so, not to tell you how to suck eggs or anything — but eating chocolate can be bad for your teeth. And, the most wonderful time of the year is a time when we are surrounded by the stuff.
Whether you’re using them to decorate your tree or to help you power through a present-wrapping sesh, chocolate and the festive season go hand in hand. So much so, that *most* of us tuck into a little advent treat daily.
High sugar content leads to cavities and tooth decay. It’s one of those cruel facts of life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your advent calendar at all. It just means you have to do it all in the right order.
Protecting your teeth is something Dr Khaled Kasem, Chief Orthodontist of the leading invisible orthodontics chain Impress, is passionate about. And, thanks to his advice we can all tuck into our calendars without sacrificing the health of our teeth by pointing out when the best time is to eat your advent calendar and which calendars are the best for your teeth.
Chocolate for breakfast is fine, but you’ll need to wait to brush!
You might think that waiting till the evening to eat your advent chocolate is the healthier option. But, chocolate will give you a great mental and physical boost in the morning due to its caffeine and sugar content.
It’s also packed full of flavonols, the antioxidant that helps to delay cell damage caused by the oxidants that we are exposed to daily from things like air pollution, cigarette smoke, and alcohol. And, fun fact, chocolate actually contains more antioxidants than green tea.
So, the case for a morning pick-me-up is a strong one. However, you need to make sure you’re waiting to brush your teeth after eating chocolate. Why? Because waiting at least half an hour before brushing your teeth after eating anything containing acid or sugar to maintain strong enamel.
If you’ve got braces or are going through aligner treatment your teeth can be extra sensitive, so as well as waiting at least half an hour before brushing your teeth, make sure you give your mouth a good rinse with a glass of water after eating your chocolate to reduce the risk of causing any damage to your teeth.
Keep things simple
While it might be tempting to opt for the most exciting and extravagant advent calendars with all sorts of sugary mod-cons, keeping it simple with plain chocolates is a lot better for your teeth.
Cracking into toffees and hard caramels or even a creme egg is not the way to go if you’re worried about the effects on your teeth — or if you’ve been told to chill when it comes to the sweet stuff.
But there are other things you can do to enjoy chocolate without rotting your pearly whites.
Opt for dark chocolate — it’s actually really good for you.
Eat all the dark chocolate you want. Yep. You read that right.
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 cause 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,” says Dr Kasem.
Chocolate and Nuts? Go NUTS.
Chocolate with nuts is also a great choice as it helps to keep teeth healthy by balancing out acid erosion in saliva and reducing the risk of tooth decay.
However, do be careful with caramel-infused chocolate as anything sticky can be particularly difficult to remove from your teeth and keep them clean..
Mint Chocolate? Yep, that’s good for you too!
Mint-flavoured chocolate is good for your health because it’s full of nutrients and is considered one of the best antioxidants, full of vitamins A and C. Music to our ears.
Vitamin C in particular has great benefits by building healthy teeth and gums. It’s not only tasty, but it also has a pleasant aroma so you’re less likely to have bad breath.
Add some dark chocolate and this is the best type of chocolate for your teeth.
So those After Eights you’ve been eyeing up lately are defo on the good list this year, meaning you can make sure your teeth stay off the naughty one.