If you enjoy the occasional bar or three of chocolate, then you’ll probably be excited to learn that occasionally eating the sweet, decadent treat can actually benefit your oral and overall health. Chocolate contains many biological compounds, such as flavonoids and tannins that produce powerful antibacterial agents to help control the gathering of harmful oral bacteria. To celebrate the good news, West Des Moines dentist Dr. Jessica Johnson explores interesting facts that you may not know about chocolate.
Interesting Chocolate Facts
- More good news: Chocolate grows on trees! The sweet treat is derived from the beans of the cacao tree, which is native to Mexico, Central, and South America. The scientific name for the tree, or Theobroma Cacao, is Greek for, “food of the gods.”
- The Olmec people, which lived in South Central Mexico between 1400 and 500 BC, are believed to be the first to consume the cacao bean, which they used to create a cocoa beverage. The Aztecs also utilized the cacao bean, but not as a consumable; instead, the beans were used as currency.
- In the late 17th century, Scottish physician Hans Sloane invented a milk chocolate drink that was used in apothecaries as medicine. In 1897, the recipe was sold to the Cadbury brothers and became a more widely available treat.
- Among chocolates beneficial ingredients is the chemical theobromine, which naturally stimulates the heart and respiratory systems. While harmless to humans in modest amounts, the chemical can be lethal to dogs, cats, and other household pets.
- Chocolate also contains trace amounts of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), caffeine, tyramine, and tryptophan. Your brain uses these chemicals to produce the feel good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin.
- If you Google the word chocolate, your search will render over 705,000,000 results.
Keep Your Teeth Healthy in West Des Moines
To learn more about chocolate’s effect on your oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jessica Johnson, contact Valley Ridge Family Dental today at (515) 327-62230. Located in West Des Moines, we proudly serve patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Urbandale, Clive, and the surrounding communities.