I have two words for you, friends. Chocolate toothpaste. Too good to be true—you say! Well, it’s not. There is a brand of toothpaste on the market created with an extract from the cacao plant. Their star ingredient? Theobromine. Being the chocolate lover that I am, of course I had to explore this concept. The dental claims of theobromine include the ability to remineralize tooth enamel and prevent decay. In a world where the toxic effects of fluoride are continually coming to fruition, I was interested in a natural toothpaste and alternative to fluoride. If it meant more chocolate, umm absolutely!
Now I am going to say right here before anyone gets ahead of themselves—I am absolutely not talking about going out and buying more Hershey’s bars. Those are laden with so much sugar and other bad stuff that any benefits they offer are probably outweighed. I am, however, talking about raw cacao, which I have a bit of an obsession with. Theobromine is a component of raw cacao. So, what’s the research say about it?
Teeth are composed mainly of hydroxyapatite. In one study, it was shown that the formation of large hydroxyapatite crystals on developing teeth was induced in the presence of theobromine (1). The same study indicated that even less theobromine was needed than fluoride to produce a similar microhardness of the enamel surface, protecting it from acid erosion and degradation (1).
Other research on human bone marrow and pregnant rats has shown that theobromine ingested during pregnancy and lactation can positively impact bone growth, strength, and mineralization in the neonate (2). Also, a decreased release of calcium and phosphorus ions from the tooth enamel of developing rat neonates was shown when their mothers ingested theobromine (1).
In one study, tooth blocks were created from teeth and lesions were formed with an acidic solution. Three groups were used; one with just saliva, one with saliva and theobromine, and one with fluoridated toothpaste. After 28 days, the theobromine and toothpaste group both noted significant remineralization and mineral gain (3).Theobromine did a better job than fluoride at remineralizing teeth and reducing sensitivity in an 80 person clinical study (1).
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So what do we do with this information? Well, you could go ahead and buy the brand name clinically tested chocolate toothpaste. Personally, I did not, because I am too cheap and to me a natural lifestyle should not break your wallet. Also, I am stubborn and am always trying to find a DIY version of everything.
*UPDATE* I am now using tooth powder and loving it! You should try it!
You could make your own toothpaste with raw cacao. I have tried this method, and I was pretty pleased. To be honest, I just haven’t entirely fallen in love with a DIY toothpaste recipe yet. I am picky about it! If you would like to try what I did here is the recipe:
Chocolate Toothpaste for Adults
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp bentonite clay
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 20-30 drops essential oil (optional) – clove, cinnamon leaf, peppermint, or spearmint* Remember with hot oils like cinnamon and clove, a small amount goes a long way!
*This goes even more so if you are putting essential oils in your mouth, please educate yourself. Do your research on the company you have chosen; call them and ask questions, research their farms, distillation processes, GC/MS reports, organic practices, and other data. Essential oils are powerful and must be treated as such. Please, keep them in a locked cabinet far away from children. If you want to know what essential oils I use, please contact me. I’d love to chat about it!
How to Make
Soften the coconut oil enough to mix everything together but not so much that your baking soda sinks to the bottom. Look out for hot temperatures in the summer; this may melt! Store in a glass jar or plastic bag with the tip cut off. Also, disclaimer, this was not reviewed by a dentist. It’s probably a good idea to chat with yours about natural dental care before switching toothpaste.
Some of what I have read warns against chocolate in general staining teeth and other articles state that because theobromine in cacao rebuilds enamel it in turn prevents staining.
My favorite way to incorporate this information into my life is to bring on more cacao! I once read a dentist recommend you nibble of some cacao bits first thing in the morning after all the gunk has built up on your teeth.
Incorporate More Cacao Into Your Life
- Drink more cacao beverages. Here is my hot cacao recipe.
- Snack on cacao nibs.
- Add cacao and cacao nibs into smoothies, granola bars, oatmeal, yogurt, and other snacks
- For a sweet treat, indulge in some high quality dark chocolate.
As I write this I am thinking–hey, I should try some cacao mouthwash! I am going to. I will let you know how that goes.
This is an exciting area of research for me, as I am not a huge fan of fluoride because of it’s safety issues, which include accidental ingestion and carcinogenic claims. This is especially a problem in children. I am already a huge proponent of cacao, and I plan to continue using it for my family even more. Among so many other health benefits, dental care is a great plus!
Cacao on my friends.
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- Theobromine: A Safe and Effective Alternative for Fluoride in Dentifrices
- Theobromine Upregulates Osteogenesis by Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vitro and Accelerates Bone Development in Rats
- Remineralization of Artificial Enamel Lesions by TheobromineEffect of Theobromine on Enamel Surface Hardness: An in-vitro Study
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