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Why You Can Toss the Fluoride and Eat Chocolate Instead

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Why You Can Toss the Fluoride and Eat Chocolate Instead

A dentist recommending chocolate? Yes, you read correctly.

Properties in dark chocolate have been proven to strengthen enamel, ward off tooth decay, and may actually help prevent cavities!

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Here’s where the gauntlet really gets thrown down: chocolate may be more effective than fluoride at these teeth strengthening activities.

Studies in England and Japan have shown that chocolate is effective at fighting cavities and dental plaque in the mouth. According to the research, chocolate is better at this than fluoride — and, of course, a much safer alternative.

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How can this be possible? Isn’t chocolate full of sugar and sugar is bad for your teeth?

The mechanism actually resides within the coca bean husk, which contains a compound called CBH. CBH is a white crystalline powder that has a chemical makeup similar to caffeine, which helps harden tooth enamel, making it less susceptible to decay. CBH can both bolster enamel and deter the bacteria that cause decay.

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Another compound in chocolate, theobromine, was found to be more effective at remineralizing teeth than fluoride in a University of Texas study. Theobromine, fluoride, and saliva were all tested to see what their effects were on tooth enamel. The enamel treated with theobromine showed a faster rate of remineralization than the enamel treated with fluoride. Theobromine does this by making the teeth less vulnerable to bacterial acid erosion that can eventually lead to cavities.

While fluoride is effective at strengthening tooth enamel, it also poses many risks that chocolate does not, including toxicity and fluorosis. Considering chocolate isn’t dangerous if swallowed in the same way that fluoride is, and that it is more effective at doing what fluoride’s supposed role is in strengthening teeth, this is fantastic news.

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Unfortunately, none of these health benefits of chocolate come in sugary milk chocolate or white chocolate. To get the benefits, you need to go with a low-sugar dark chocolate that contains ideally 70 to 80% cacao.

Hopefully, this research will mean that chocolate can leave behind its bad name as a cavity-causing treat and begin to make its way into toothpastes. (That said, don’t be fooled by chocolate flavored toothpastes that don’t contain any chocolate compounds that strengthen teeth.) It should also encourage us to reexamine the sugary milk chocolate we eat and replace it with the good stuff that strengthens teeth and comes along with a whole host of other health benefits.

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How to Reap the Benefits?

  • Choose dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Choose a dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao content. Work your way up to 80% or higher cacao content — once you get used to it, you won’t believe you ever enjoyed sugary milk chocolate!
  • Be aware that chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly.
  • Choose raw chocolate if possible, as it is less processed, and more of the antioxidants are left intact.
  • Eat 3-4 oz of chocolate a day to lower your chance of getting cavities. Don’t brush right after you eat the chocolate to let it sit on your teeth.
  • Don’t forget basic oral hygiene and regular dentist check-ups. Studies have indicated that chocolate has “powerful anti-cavity potential” but nothing replaces proper flossing technique, strong brushing habits, and seeing your dentist regularly to prevent disease in the mouth.
  • Consider tossing your fluoride toothpaste. There is no doubt that fluoride remineralizes tooth structure and I do recommend it for certain people in certain circumstances, however, with so much fluoride in our environment and with issues like fluorosis on the rise, it’s certainly worth reconsidering.

Do all of this for your teeth, but enjoy the other benefits of mood elevation and better blood flow as well!

Featured photo credit: AlexanderStein via pixabay.com

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chocolate better than fluoride Why You Can Toss the Fluoride and Eat Chocolate Instead

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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