After spending a day outside in the cold weather, you’re going to want to warm up your body with a cup of hot cocoa. On December 13, you should celebrate National Cocoa Day by learning about the tooth benefits and risks of your hot beverage, and visiting Dr. Stewart to make sure your teeth stay protected.
What is cocoa?
Cocoa is the dried, fermented seeds of the cacao tree. It takes about 300 to 600 cocoa beans to make just two pounds of chocolate. When you grind the seeds, it turns into a cocoa powder that can be used to make hot chocolate or baked goods.
Benefits of cocoa
Compounds in the cocoa bean husk have antibacterial agents that can help fight bacteria and plaque in your mouth. When you eat a piece of chocolate, the antibacterial agents can help protect your mouth from the sugar in the same product. Chocolate is also good for your heart, because flavonoids have antioxidants that help control your blood flow. Polyphenols in chocolate also help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate has a higher concentration of cocoa in it than milk chocolate, so it contains more of the beneficial antioxidants and compounds.
Also, cocoa butter is a common moisturizing treatment extracted from cocoa beans. Your lips and skin are prone to drying out in the winter time. Look for a lotion or moisturizer with cocoa butter in it to help keep your body smooth.
Risks of cocoa
The tannins in chocolate can leave a dark stain on your teeth. In addition, your favorite chocolate products are loaded with sugar to help improve the taste. This sugar, in excessive amounts, can stick to your teeth and cause decay. Many people add small marshmallows or peppermint to their hot cocoa drinks. These sweeteners add to the sugar content that is touching your teeth.
You can enjoy your cup of cocoa on National Cocoa Day, but most of the time your drink of choice should be water. A green herbal tea is also a healthy, warm alternative. Ask Dr. Stewart how to stay healthy this winter. Contact our dental office in Livonia, MI at 734.425.4400 to schedule an appointment. We welcome families from the surrounding areas of Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Novi, Dearborn, Redford, and other nearby communities.