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Why You Can Toss the Fluoride and Eat Chocolate Instead

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.

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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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